No matter how you feel about the affordable care act, one thing is for certain: accessible preventative care will end up lowering healthcare costs in the long run. The more studies are done, and data is collected, the more it becomes abundantly clear, preventative care saves money. Unfortunately, it comes too late for many of the obese, and otherwise unhealthy people in our country. It’s not however, too late for the next generation. So before we all start griping about the high cost of insuring our workforce, let’s stop for a minute and consider the long-term savings.
First and foremost, let’s take a look at the money we have been losing due to unhealthy employees. A Gallup poll from 2011, found that health-related absenteeism costs US companies $153 billion in lost productivity. While no amount of preventative care will avoid absenteeism due to health altogether, it seems logical that with a better system for preventative care in place, this number will be reduced.
There have been a number of case studies indicating the money-saving capabilities of preventative medicine. From wellness plans, to mandatory check-ups, businesses already know that preventative care ends up saving money in the long run. When you begin to look at healthcare more holistically, you’ll find a number of surprising results.
A recent study by Cigna found that people who treated their gum disease were 2/3 less likely to visit the hospital, 1/2 as likely to have to make an ER trip, and saved over one thousand dollars in medical costs. Suddenly Obama’s decision to provide kids with dental begins to make sense. When you take one small part of health, such as dental care, and put it in the context of overall health, it begins to make sense why preventative medicine is so important.
Case studies, and lost productivity aren’t going to be enough to convince some people of the necessity of preventative care. There’s also no denying that the upfront costs for universal healthcare are going to be somewhat painful. That said, when you begin to look at healthcare through a holistic lens, preventative care begins to seem like a wise investment.
Image By Keith Ellison (President Obama Signing The Health Care Bill)