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Association Between Changes in Health Risk Status and Changes in Future Health Care Costs: A Multiemployer Study

Nyce, Steven PhD; Grossmeier, Jessica PhD, MPH; Anderson, David R. PhD; Terry, Paul E. PhD; Kelley, Bruce PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: November 2012 - Volume 54 - Issue 11 - p 1364–1373
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31826b4996
Original Articles

Objective: To assess the influence of health risk change on changes in health care costs.

Methods: Multivariate regression models examined change in health care costs concurrent with and following completion of two health assessments (HAs) approximately 1 year apart. Final models examined changes in costs for individuals with and without chronic conditions.

Results: After controlling for chronic condition status, health risk changes between the first and second HA were associated with health care cost changes in the year following the second HA. Those with chronic conditions experienced reductions of $129 for each risk reduced and increases of $210 for each risk added.

Conclusions: Changes in health care costs were preceded by changes in health risk status, supporting the use of HA and biometric screening measures as leading indicators of the cost impact of health management programs.

From Towers Watson (Drs Nyce and Kelley), New York; and StayWell Health Management (Drs Grossmeier, Anderson, and Terry), St Paul, Minn.

Address correspondence to: Jessica Grossmeier, PhD, MPH, StayWell Health Management, 3000 Ames Crossing Road, Suite 100, St. Paul, MN 55118 (

This research study and the manuscript were prepared as part of each coauthor's employment activities with their respective employers. No additional funding was received to support this work.

Conflicts of interest for StayWell coauthors are represented by their employment by StayWell Health Management, which provides health management programs to employers, and minority stock ownership by Dr Anderson and Dr Terry in MediMedia, StayWell's parent company. The results of this study may influence employers to invest in health management programs. No conflicts of interest exist for the authors employed by Towers Watson, a consultancy firm.

©2012The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine