Leading disease management company Healthways hopes to make a splash today with the release of The Potential Medicare Savings through Prevention and Health Risk Reduction, in an attempt to put hard dollars on the savings available to Medicare from embracing health promotion, prevention and chronic disease management. Like any serious national policy paper these days –the numbers reach into the trillions of dollars.
Key takeaways from the report:
- The typical Medicare enrollee costs the system $174,000 from enrollment to death (based on a present value calculation). That’s $6.5 big ones (i.e., trillion) in total for current beneficiaries
- More than $30,000 in savings per enrollee are achievable (or $1.1T in total) if people can be kept healthy before they enroll at age 65. Another $164B (small dollars, I realize) could be saved by keeping people healthier once they’re already enrolled
- Not only will costs go down in these scenarios, life expectancy would increase anywhere from 2.4 to 5.7 years. Contrary to popular belief, living longer doesn’t mean higher total medical bills
Healthways will have an ad in the Wall Street Journal trumpeting these findings. The report itself is available on the Healthways website.July 30, 2009