Smoking cessation and weight-loss programs seem to have a small but noticeable effect on health plan costs over a 78-month period.
Researchers at Gordian Health Solutions Inc., Nashville, Tenn., have published an analysis of the effects of “population health management” programs on employees at a hospital in Tennessee.
Gordian, a health management company, compared with the effects of the smoking cessation and weight-loss programs on 142 program participants and 142 control group members who closely resembled the program participants.
After 78 months, the program participants were about 10% more likely to have filed claims, but the total cost of participants’ claims was $242,465 lower than the total claims cost for control group members, Gordian researchers report.
Over the course of the study, the program participants cost the hospital’s health plan an average of about $41 less per claim filed, the researchers report.
The researchers defined a health event leading to a claim for more than $1,090 as an “outlier claim event.”
Outlier events were rare, but, by the end of the sixth year of the study, control group members were twice as likely to experience outlier claims as program participants, the researchers report.
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