The Rising Cost of Health Care

What I'm about to write might be contrued as somewhat inflamatory and do you know what?  I'm totally okay with that.  I keep hearing people blaming the insurance companies and doctors about the rising cost of health care and about how employers are cutting back on haelth care covereage for employees.  There is some truth to these things HOWEVER the other inescapable truth is that we Americans are bringing it on ourselves.

Did you know that between 2000 and 2004 health care costs for companies increased 40% while the costs for employees increased 61% for the same coverage.  And the costs have continued to rise.

Did you know that the cost of covering the expenses of chronic diseases increased dramatically between 2000 and 2004 and that the current costs of treating chronic diseases has moved from costing billions annually to costing trillions annually.

Do you know what the major cause of these rising costs are? Simply put we move less and eat more. Period.  And that these are preventable diseases.

In four short years (2000 – 2004) there was an increase in both chronic diseases and the cost to treat those diseases.  Here are some statistics:

Heart Disease rose from 52 billion to 80 billion

Cancer 37 billion to 63 billion

Hypertension 24 billion to 38 billion

Diabetes 18 billion to 30 billion

Keep in mind that these numbers were from 2000-2004 which was 5 years ago.  I came across these numbers some months ago as I was putting together a program for employers to help reduce the cost of their health care insurance.  Healthier employees cost the employer LESS and help to reduce health care coverage costs.

Quite simply there is a direct relationship to the health of an employee and what that employee costs the employer.  let's take a look at the connection of an amployees health and the cost tot he employer.  Healthier employees miss less work, are more productive when they are at work, and go to the doctor less - which costs the company less.  Conversly employees who don't work out regularly and eat an unhealthy diet miss more work due to illness, are less productive while on the job, and go to the doctor more - every time an employee goes to the doctor the company has to pay out for the doctor visit.  Unhealthy employees are costly to the employer.

When you take a look at the diseases that I listed above I want to point out that they are by and large PREVENTABLE.  We do need to take into account gentic factors but for the most part all of the diseases listed are the direct result of making poor health choices.  So also like I said above they are the direct result of eating more and moving less.

I ask you, each of you, what have YOU done to contribute to the rising costs of health care and what can YOU do to help reduce those soaring costs?  When all is said and done our health is up to us not the government and certainly not our employers.  As you've heard me say more than once - Small changes over time yield HUGE results.  What small changes can you do TODAY that will help you become the healthiest you that you can be?  Maybe you can add 10 minutes of getting your heart pumping or saying no that that cookie.  Only you know what you can do to make a difference.  I would LOVE to hear what changes you are willing to make today and what I can do to help support you.

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