Our elected officials – locally, statewide, and nationally – are trying to find ways to correct their budget shortfalls. Not a day goes by that we do not hear of the historic debt we are facing which has an impact on each of us. Programs and personnel have already been cut. There isn’t much “wiggle room” left.
Health care costs, including Medicare, Medicaid, and employees’ health insurance, are a significant expenditure for the government. According to Health and Human Services, 2009 represented the largest increase in spending on healthcare in more than 50 years, with 17¢ of every dollar is being spent on healthcare. And the private sector is also wondering how to manage their rising healthcare costs.
Nearly half of all American’s suffer from at least one chronic disease, and more than two- thirds have one or more of these chronic diseases: heart disease, cancer, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and diabetes. Chronic diseases are a major driver of health care costs. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 75% of health care dollars, or $5,300 per person, is used treating chronic disease. An alarming 96¢ of every Medicare dollar and 83¢ of every Medicaid dollar is spent on the treatment of chronic disease. On the private side, health insurance premiums for employer-sponsored family coverage have increased 87% since the year 2000. Health insurance coverage for people with chronic conditions averages five times higher than for those without chronic disease. Let’s not forget obesity, which is literally breaking the bank. All of this being said, healthcare costs are a large contributor to our deficits, both in the public and private sector.
Our health behaviors determine health care costs. And here is the kicker – a majority of chronic diseases are preventable. 60% of cancers, 91% of diabetes, and 64-84% of heart disease are related to how we live, learn, work, and play.
Can we make a difference in budget shortfalls – you bet! The CHIP wellness program implemented in corporations and communities nationwide educate participants on how to make better lifestyle choices to slow down, stop, and reverse chronic diseases and therefore reduce health care costs. Over 50,000 people are enjoying a healthier life and spending fewer dollars on their healthcare since participating in CHIP. Call 815-316-6361 to learn how CHIP can help.