Potential National and State Medical Care Savings From Primary Disease Prevention.

Am J Public Health. 2010 Nov 18. Ormond BA, Spillman BC, Waidmann TA, Caswell KJ, Tereshchenko B. The Urban Institute.

Objectives: We estimated national and state-level potential medical care cost savings achievable through modest reductions in the prevalence of several diseases associated with the same lifestyle-related risk factors.

Methods: Using Medical Expenditure Panel Survey Household Component data (2003-2005), we estimated the effects on medical spending over time of reductions in the prevalence of diabetes, hypertension, and related conditions amenable to primary prevention by comparing simulated counterfactual morbidity and medical care expenditures to actual disease and expenditure patterns. We produced state-level estimates of spending by using multivariate reweighting techniques.

Results: Nationally, we estimated that reducing diabetes and hypertension prevalence by 5% would save approximately $9 billion annually in the near term. With resulting reductions in comorbidities and selected related conditions, savings could rise to approximately $24.7 billion annually in the medium term. Returns were greatest in absolute terms for private payers, but greatest in percentage terms for public payers. State savings varied with demographic makeup and prevailing morbidity.

Conclusions: Well-designed interventions that achieve improvements in lifestyle-related risk factors could result in sufficient savings in the short and medium term to substantially offset intervention costs.

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