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Using a Personal Health Care Cost Calculator to Estimate Future Expenditures Based on Individual Health Risks

Bowen, Jennie D. MPH; Goetzel, Ron Z. PhD; Lenhart, Greg MS; Ozminkowski, Ronald J. PhD; Babamoto, Kenneth S. PharmD, MPH; Portale, Julia D. MBA, MPH

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: April 2009 - Volume 51 - Issue 4 - p 449-455
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e3181996ceb
Original Articles

Objective: To describe the development and application of an innovative Health Improvement Cost Calculator tool designed to help individuals recognize the link between their current health risks, future medical costs, and productivity.

Methods: We describe how the Calculator was developed using data from studies that tie health care costs and productivity to population health risks, and how changes in risks are projected to reduce future spending for individual workers.

Results: Two simulations of the model illustrate how individuals may realize future economic costs or benefits depending on whether they maintain or change their health-risk profile.

Conclusions: The Calculator has the potential to be a powerful motivational tool for individuals, especially those heading toward retirement, who are looking to understand the relationships between their health risks, future medical spending, and impacts on productivity.

From the Health and Productivity Research Division (Ms Bowen), Thomson Reuters; Institute for Health and Productivity Studies (Dr Goetzel), Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University; Consulting and Applied Research, Thomson Reuters, Washington, DC; Thomson Reuters (Mr Lenhart); Consulting Economist (Dr Ozminkowski), Ann Arbor, MI; Pfizer Health Solutions Inc. (Dr Babamoto, Ms Portale).

Address correspondence to: Ron Goetzel, PhD, c/o Thomson Reuters, 4301 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20008; E-mail:

©2009The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine