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Workplace wellness program and short-term changes in health care expenditures.

Author(s) : Levy DE., Thorndike AN.
Date : Mar, 2019
Source(s) : Preventive Medicine Reports #13 p175-178
Adresse : Mongan Institute Health Policy Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, 100 Cambridge Street, Suite 1600, Boston, MA 02114, USA.

Workplace wellness programs are commonly offered by employers with the expectation that they will reduce health care costs. We previously reported that Be Fit, a 10-week wellness program offered to employees of a large teaching hospital and geared towards improving nutrition and physical activity, led to improvements in weight, serum cholesterol, and blood pressure at program completion and 1-year follow-up. In the present study we assessed whether Be Fit participation was associated with reduced health expenditures by employing a difference-in-differences analysis of claims data for 289 employees who participated in Be Fit between 2010 and 2014 and 194 controls from the same parent company matched on sex, age, health risk score, and baseline health expenditures. We compared changes in expenditures from the year prior to Be Fit participation to the year after initiating participation. We did not observe any inflection in health care expenditures at the time of Be Fit participation for participants or matched controls. After adjusting for matching characteristics, changes in quarterly health expenditures were $236 lower for participants compared to controls (95% CI -$640 to $168). We similarly found no evidence of reduced health expenditures when expenditures were capped at the 99th percentile (excluding the impact of outliers) or limited to expenditures for cardiovascular disease or diabetes. Despite improvements in clinical risk factors, we find no evidence that Be Fit was associated with reduced health expenditures over 1-year follow-up. Reducing health expenditures may require a longer time horizon and programs targeting a broader set of risk factors.

Source : Pubmed


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