Early Intervention is Key to Driving Down Costs

Businesses spend billions each year on medical care that has been left untreated for too long and has resulted in late stage disease. In medicine, there has been a focus on prevention for many years but the messaging has not been received by most. Only approximately 40-60% of people get the recommended screenings that could find early disease.

There was a time when cholesterol medicines weren’t given until after a heart attack.  Now, however, we give them at the first sign of cholesterol elevating and talk to people about diet and exercise to prevent heart disease. 

As companies recover from COVID and all it has done to the business world, they are looking at the costs for medical coverage for employees.  Although there are multiple ways to lower costs (and Amaze helps with this on a regular basis), there is one way that is beneficial to everyone involved.  Early Intervention.

Why Early Intervention Works

Colon polyp removal can prevent colon cancer.

Early intervention in medicine is a treatment or plan to treat or prevent an illness before it is in mid or late stages.   An example is a colonoscopy where a precancerous polyp is found and removed.  Not removing this polyp in its precancerous stage would prove a much bigger health issue and challenge down the road for the patient.

Had the precancerous polyp not been found, it would have converted to cancer and spread.  Colon cancer treatment can range from $40,000 to $80,000. Most of this cost is paid by employer contributions, but the employee is also saddled with a large deductible on top of a high cost of living.

Colon cancer found early has a 5-year survival of 91%, where later stages have a 5-year survival rate of just over 55%.  

Companies Benefit…But Employees Do Too

Early intervention benefits the company paying the premiums (or part of the premiums) for health insurance and helps the patient live longer and pay less out of pocket for treatments. Both the employer and employee are benefited.  

This can be applied to multiple different diagnoses.  It is said that for every dollar spent on prevention and early intervention in mental health, it yields between $2 and $10 savings in health costs, according to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

This can be as simple as monitoring for signs of stress and mental health issues at work.  Amaze offers their companies counseling or mental health treatments with a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner. 

If a screening lab that costs very little is done each year, pre-diabetes can be seen, and treatment started to prevent diabetes. 

Diabetes is similar to this, showing a major decrease in spending when pre-diabetes is treated as aggressively as diabetes. Therefore, preventing people from converting to diabetes.  Diabetes costs billions of dollars a year due to the illness and its sequelae.

If a screening lab that costs very little is done each year, pre-diabetes can be seen, and treatment started to prevent diabetes. 

Other Preventable Diseases

Did you know that heart disease kills about the same amount of people in the United States as cancer, pneumonia, and accidents combined? The Million Hearts Campaign estimated that approximately 1 in every 3 deaths is cardiovascular. This is often after hospitalizations, expensive testing, and medications.

If someone has a heart attack there can be an ER visit, heart testing and catheterization, ICU stay after the procedure, and weeks of cardiac rehabilitation. This can cost several hundred thousand dollars.

The American Heart Association and National Conference of State Legislatures notes that healthy behaviors like monitoring blood pressure, cholesterol and keeping weight low (healthy diet and exercise) would change this dramatically.  

Obesity is a factor in both diabetes and cardiovascular disease. It was also shown to be the #1 risk to hospitalization and death from COVID-19.  Being overweight or obese can be considered early diabetes or heart disease.  Getting people to a healthy weight and teaching them good habits can change the trajectory of their health and healthcare spending.  

Smoking is linked to many preventable cancers. It is the number one risk factor in lung cancer, bladder cancer, and in the top risks for skin cancer, oral cancer, colon cancer, as well as multiple other cancers.  Smoking cessation is most successful when a person feels supported at home and work.

Simply having a platform like Amaze, that reduces the obstacles to getting treatment, and a place to check in is key.  This offered by an employer can increase the health of the employee and reduce costs associated with insuring them. Early Intervention would clearly change this and drive costs down while giving a different quality of life to employees.   

As companies strive to find ways to decrease costs and make their businesses run more efficiently, early intervention is the simplest and easiest to implement.  Wellness programs, mental health programs, and primary care programs can all have a huge impact. For more information about how Amaze can help your business save money, click here.