Want more proof that lifestyle choices are driving the majority of healthcare expense in the United States? A recent study highlighted by the Healthcare Economist blog looked at data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey and broke it down in to â€œpatient-centeredâ€ categories. The findings: About 47 percent of all healthcare expenditures are related to chronic conditions.
Granted, some chronic conditions are a function of genetics or just plain bad luck but many are not. Many are a direct result of poor personal choices that result in obesity (from overeating, lack of exercise, etc.), or respiratory issues (from smoking), or diabetes (often from the same choices result in obesity), or [insert chronic condition here] (from [insert poor personal choice here]).
Now, I’m not a health nut. I enjoy red meat and could probably stand to lose a few pounds. I do try to take care of myself, however, and accept the fact that I have a personal responsibility to make as many healthy choices as I possibly can. This not only makes me feel better, but provides a good example for my boys and [should] keep my medical expenses down as I go through life.
For some reason, though, many people choose not to accept personal responsibility for their health and their choices directly affect all of our health insurance premiums, which they’re often the first to complain about when the premiums are going up. What we all need to understand is that responsibility and better outcomes tend to go hand-in-hand.