November 5, 2012
Heart Attacks Cost More Than Your Health
Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
You might want to think twice before ordering that dollar cheeseburger today at McDonalds, because according to a new study, it ultimately comes at a higher price later on down the road.
People who suffer from a heart attack face more than a physical recovery, they also suffer from an economic recovery as well. A study presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2012 found that the economic impact of a heart attack and other forms of acute coronary syndrome can be costly.
The team used data from Integrated Benefits Institutes' Health and Productivity Benchmarking Databases and IMS Lifelink for their study. They analyzed medical, pharmacy and short- and long-term disability claims to calculate direct and indirect costs for more than 37,000 employees and their dependents from 2007 to 2010.
They found that the annual healthcare cost for each worker, including out-of-pocket expenses, was $8,170. Of this total, they said $7,545 was for hospitalization and other medical care, and $625 was for pharmacy costs.
They also found that workers with acute coronary syndrome (ACS) lost 60.2 days of work in the short term, and 397 days in the long term.
Employers saw that their disability costs outweigh direct costs. The team estimated per claim productivity loss for short-term disability was $7,943, and $52,473 for long-term disability.
“ACS can have devastating effects from an economic standpoint on employers in terms of lost productivity, but more importantly on costs to the employee reflected in the average lost time per incident,” Robert L. Page II, Pharm.D., M.S.P.H., the study´s lead author, said in a press release.
Page said that about 47 percent of all patients who took part in the study are younger than 65, which is the working class population.
“We want to target individuals early on in terms of risk factor modification for ACS, including smoking cessation, weight loss, appropriate diet, pharmacotherapy for high cholesterol and high blood pressure,” he said.
Men and women with acute coronary syndrome face additional economic burdens in both lost time and income from work, along with the possibility of an inability to return to work, the researchers said.
ACS is a term for situations in which blood supplied to the heart muscle is suddenly blocked, which includes heart attack and angina or chest pain.