What is the Problem?
Escalating health care costs continue to remain an issue of great concern for many health professionals, employers and insurance companies. The latest statistics establish that 80% of illnesses and disease in Canada and the United States are preventable. This accounts for eight of the nine leading causes of death, of which there are more than 980,000 per year. Unfortunately, cardiovascular (heart) disease is still the biggest killer and makes up for more than 50% of this number. Yet heart disease is still one of the most preventable diseases in this country. Here are some of the latest statistics concerning health care.
- The US healthcare system is the most expensive of systems, outstripping by over half again the health care expenditures of any other country. (2)
- The average cost of health care per person in the United States approximated $3,925 in 1997. (3)
- Lifetime medical costs average approximately $225,000 per person. (1)
- Some 18 percent of lifetime costs for medical care–over $40,000–is estimated to be incurred in the last year of life. (1)
For many companies, medical costs can consume half of corporate profits — or more. Some employers look to cost sharing, cost shifting, managed care plans, risk rating, and cash-based rebates or incentives. But these methods merely shift costs. Only worksite health promotion stands out as the long-term answer for keeping employees well in the first place.