Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Healthy Americans = Less Costly Americans

While much of the debate surrounding the new healthcare bill speaks to changes in insurance coverage for uninsured and underinsured Americans - a more noteworthy benefit of the overhaul is the (much overdue) focus on prevention. Under the new law, insurance companies will be required to provide preventive services - such as immunizations and check-ups - as part of the patient's insurance coverage. Patients will not be required to pay additional out-of-pocket charges for these services.
“This is transformative,” says Helen Darling, president of the National Business Group on Health, a nonprofit organization for large employers. “We’re moving from an insurance model that was based on treating illness and injury, to a model that’s focused on improving an individual’s health and identifying risk factors.” [link]
Public Health professionals have long known that focusing on preventing illness is much more cost-effective than treating illness. For example - it's much more cost-effective to encourage hand hygiene in healthcare workers than it is to treat a healthcare-associated infection. It's promising that this is also the direction healthcare reform is heading.

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