The stated mission of the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality is to “improve the quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of health care for all Americans.” Recently, the Agency published two reports
that indicate a gap in that efficiency: according to one, the 2006
National Healthcare Quality Report, about half of adults reported
having their recommended colorectal cancer screenings. Unfortunately,
about 56,000 Americans die from colorectal cancer, there are up to
150,000 new cases diagnosed each year.
A similar percentage of diabetic adults get their three recommended
screenings each year. These exams, for blood sugar, feet and eyes, are
to help prevent disease complications. The Agency guesstimates that
about two and a half billion dollars annually could be saved by
eliminating hospitalizations related to such complications.
And then there’s this: less than half of obese adults reported being
counseled about diet by their health care professional. According to
the Agency, about one-third of American adults are obese. It’s not
clear how they arrive at this possible “inflated” figure, but in the
event, obesity can increase the risks of high blood pressure, type 2
diabetes, stroke, and heart disease.
Unfortunately, there’s no indication as to why folks are
skipping these all-important tests. Could be money, of course, or lack
of time or immediacy. If nothing else, this should serve as a wake-up
call that we need to become more pro-active in our health care. Most
health insurance plans include some cover for preventive care
(including mammography and other well-care issues). Regardless, it
seems to me that it’s a lot cheaper to prevent a problem than to treat
Henry Stern, LUTCF is an independent insurance agent in Dayton, OH. A
licensed Continuing Education instructor for Ohio and Kentucky, he has
well over 20 years of experience in “the biz.” He blogs every day
(or so it seems) at InsureBlog.