Engagement in a health promotion program brings down medical costs
The association between medical costs and participation in the Vitality health promotion program among 948,974 members of a South African health insurance company. Mmed DNP, EV Lambert, da Silva R, Greyling M, Nossel C, Noach A, Derman W, Gaziano T. Am J Health Promot. 2010. 24 (3): 199-204.
To look at how differing levels of engagement in an insurance company's health promotion program influence inpatient medical claims.
948,974 members of a health insurance company, of these, 591,134 (62%) were enrolled in the provider's health promotion program.
The participants were divided by level of engagement in the health promotion program as: i) not registered, ii) registered but not engaged, iii) low engagement, and iv) high engagement. Level of engagement was defined by number of points gained against health knowledge, fitness related activities, assessment and screening, and healthy choices. The level of engagement was compared to rates of hospital admission, days in hospital and hospital stay costs.
- Participants who were highly engaged in the health promotion program had lower total costs, shorter stays in hospital and fewer admissions compared to other groups (p<.001).
- Hospital admission rates for the highly engaged group were 7.4% lower for cardiovascular disease, 13.2% lower for cancers, and 20.7% lower for endocrine and metabolic diseases (e.g. diabetes) than other groups (p<.01).
- Low or no engagement groups had hospital costs similar to the not registered group.
What does this mean?
Engagement in a health promotion program can lower hospital admission costs, and admissions into hospital for chronic diseases affected by lifestyle factors.