Indirect Health care cost of obesity
Total Cost of obesity
In this research presentation the author will discuss how obesity in United States of America impact health care costs. This topic will be approached from the perspective of direct and indirect costs. Direct cost is related to treating obesity as a health disorder in itself without accompanying complications. Indirect costs emerge from associating medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, heart failure and arthritis among other serious diseases medical science is now discovering. These add up to what can be considered the total health care costs of obesity in United States of America.
Research Paper: Impact of Obesity on Health Care Costs
Obesity in United States of America is one of the leading causes of illness and death among children and adults. Importantly, the rate of obesity in America is highest in the world. Therefore, with increasing health care costs and the worst health care system among developed nations, the problem is acute.
The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reports that in 2008 the estimated obesity rate among adult Americans was 32.2% for men and 35.5% for women ( Flegal et.al, 2010). This has been verified by the Centers for 2010 Disease Control and Prevention from studies conducted during 2009- 2010 (Flegal et.al, 2010). When an alternative methodology was applied to investigate the impact of obesity in America using a Gallup survey the rate was discovered to be 26.1% for U.S. adults in 2011, an increase from 25.5% from 2008. Researchers have noted that while there is no significant increase in rate for women obesity among men has escalated (Flegal et.al, 2010).
It seems to have been more pronounced between 1999 and 2008 according to the JAMA researchers. Precisely, there seems to be prevalence among adults between the ages of 20 to 74 years with a steep hike of 7.9 percentage points for men and by 8.9 percentage points for women during 1976-1980 and 1988-1994. As a result the hike indicated 7.1 further increase percentage points for men and 8.1 percentage points for women in the years 1988-1994 and 1999-2000 (Flegal et.al, 2010). This being the scenario of obesity in America, evidently, it must by 2012 created a serve impact on the national health care expenditure. Programs are being designed to address this problem. In the meanwhile health care costs are escalating to treat a preventable condition.
Diagram showing US Obesity Rates between the years 1960-2004 (Flegal et.at, 2010).
Direct Health care cost of obesity
Studies carried out in 2009 by the Research Triangle Institute and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated the direct total health care cost of obesity in America to be in the vicinity of $147 billion annually. This accounts for expenditures towards Medicaid, Medicare and private insurances (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Division of Media Relations, 2009).
There has been as representative increase from 1998 of 6.5% to 9.1% in 2006. Further estimates show where the average obese Americans are responsible for $1,429 annual medical expenses in comparison to normal weight individuals. Further estimates show where in America, the annual average Medicare bill is ‘$95 more for inpatient services, $693 more for outpatient services, and $608 more for prescription drugs for a single obese patient. Medicaid pays, on average, $213 per year more for inpatient services, $175 more for outpatient services, and $230 more for prescription drugs’ (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Division of Media Relations, 2009).
When private insurances annual expenses are taken into account they are ‘$443 more for inpatient services, $398 for “non-inpatient” services and $284 for prescription drugs’ (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Division of Media Relations, 2009).Subsequently, Medicare pays obese beneficiary, $1,723 more annually; Medicaid $1,021, and private insurers pay $1,140 drugs’ (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Division of Media Relations, 2009).
Indirect Costs of Obesity
Economic analysts have accounted for indirect cost due to obesity by conducting studies estimating losses in productivity. While this is worthy of consideration, it is my point of view re that indirect costs can also be incurred from costs due to care from complications of obesity also.
Arguments have been that ‘productivity loss due to absenteeism and presenteeism is the most significant cost to employers’ (Finkelstein et.al, 2010). Researchers have measured absenteeism is by calculating the annual number of sick days; while presenteeism is calculated as time lost at work due to a decrease in productivity(Finkelstein et.al, 2010).
Scientific research has established correlation rates between absenteeism and presenteeism in relation to levels of obesity to prove that with increase in weight the rate of presenteeism/ absenteeism escalates. Consequently, Finkelstein (2010) and his colleagues have discovered that the real cost of absenteeism and presenteeism lies in the vicinity of $42.8 billion US per year for the American workforce.
In relation to associating costs due to diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, heart failure and arthritis among other unconfirmed medical diagnoses, science lacks evidence based research to verify the true cost when medical complications are linked to the theory of obesity costs.
With the absence of no sound theoretical foundation to support my assumption of alternative indirect cost apart from a workforce analyses, it is left to assume that illnesses directly related to obesity may have been classified as direct medical costs without separating the two. In such a case it can be concluded that this cost was covered. If this is not, then estimates regarding this aspect of costs are inaccurate.
Total cost of obesity
Theoretically, both direct and indirect economic cost and loss incurred by obesity is estimated an alarming $51.64 billion and $99.2 billion during 1995, respectively. There are figures to show increases of $61 billion and $117 billion in 2000 (Alter, 2012). In confirmation of this trend researchers attached to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and RTI International have indicated the medical costs for obesity related care as being $75 billion in 2003 (Andreyeva et.al,2004).
In drawing inferences from estimates projected in previous paragraphs of this presentation, it must be clarified expenditures incurred from obesity associated illnesses ought to be addressed distinctly as it relates to what is direct cost and direct and indirect costs.
Precisely, from these research findings direct costs include both out-of-pocket and insurance-cover, Medicaid and Medicare as well as hospitalization and preventative programs costs (Begley, 2012). Indirect costs can be alluded to loss of production due to ‘absenteeism and presenteeism, disability, premature mortality, life insurance’ (Finkelstein et.al, 2010).
However, even though there are no studies to support these observation doctors and clinicians have discovered that obesity-related medical problems are evident as ‘type II diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and disability’ (Andreyeva et.al, 2004). Obesity is found to have debilitating effects on pregnancy and gestation. There are studies to show where obesity predisposes to still birth low birth weight or gestational diabetes (Thompson & Wolf, 2001). However these costs have not been projected in dollars and cents by economic analysts. Therefore, the true cost of obesity is still obscure.
In the foregoing research presentation this author offered scientific proof when available relating the ‘Impact of Obesity on Health Care Costs,’ in United States of America. The discussion was embraced from the perspective of direct and indirect costs. Direct cost addressed Medicare, Medicaid, employee and private insurances as well as out of pocket payments.
Indirect expenditure looked at how obesity impact health care cost when production and productivity is hampered and there is not enough financing for health care due to lack of income. A vicious cycle then, peddlers its way into health care costs showing up as poor health status, inability to work, low productivity and poverty. Along with a huge bill on health care are diseases directly related to obesity and the mortality incurred by it. There are no figures available to account for this cost.
However, it must be understood in concluding that obesity contributes to approximately 100,000–400,000 deaths in the United States annually (Wellman & Friedberg, 2002). Children in Queens New York community seem to be the most affected. There are definite increases in health care costs around the country. The total annual expenditure offered from statisticians is approximately, $117 billion inclusive of preventive programs, diagnostic testing, and treatment services related to weight. Indirect costs incurred from absenteeism, loss of potential earnings from infant, maternal, children and adult death costs (Wellman & Friedberg, 2002).
Alter, D. (2012, May, 1st). The cost of obesity in America ballooning. ANN, p1
Andreyeva, T. Sturm, R., & Ringel, S. (2004). Moderate and Severe Obesity Have Large
Differences in Health Care Costs. Obesity Research, 12 (12), 1936–1943, Begley, S. (2012, May, 1st). The Costs of Obesity. Huff Posts Healthy Living, p1
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Division of Media Relations (2009).Study Estimates
Medical Cost of Obesity May Be as High as $147 Billion Annually. Retrieved on 22nd August, 2012 from http://www.cdc.gov/media/pressrel/2009/r090727.htm
Finkelstein, E. A., DiBonaventura, M. D., Burgress, S. M., & Hale, B. C. (2010, October). “The Costs of Obesity in the Workplace.” Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 52(10),971-971
Flegal, K. Carroll, M. Ogden, L., & Curtin, L. (2010). Prevalence and Trends in Obesity Among US Adults, 1999-2008. Journal of American Medical Association, 303(3), 235-241.
Thompson, D., & Wolf, M (2001) .The medical-care cost burden of obesity, Obesity Reviews, 2 (3), 189–197
Wellman, N., & Friedberg, B. (2002). Causes and consequences of adult obesity: health, social and economic impacts in the United States. Asia Pacific journal of clinical nutrition, 11(S8), S7-5-S713