What are chronic conditions?
Chronic health conditions are conditions that last 1 year or more and require ongoing medical attention, limit activities of daily living, or both. Chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes are the leading causes of death and disability in the United States.
What do they mean for health plans?
These conditions have a substantial impact on health care expenditure including costs to employees and employers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states people with chronic and mental health conditions make up 90% of the U.S. $3.8 trillion annual health care expenditure.
Heart disease and stroke make up $216 billion annually and cause $147 billion in loss of productivity. Diabetes is another condition that can impact health care spending, quality of life, and productivity. More than 34 million Americans have been diagnosed with diabetes, while another 88 million have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes. In 2017 for those diagnosed with diabetes, the estimated medical cost and loss of productivity was $327 billion.
How can employers reduce the impact of these costs?
One way to help reduce health care spending is to invest in chronic condition management programs. Sona has a pharmacist-led health management program that focuses on working with patients to manage their chronic health conditions. Our health management program has shown pharmacists coaches can impact patients with chronic health conditions. This is done by decreasing overall health care spend, increasing medication adherence, improving condition management, and reducing missed workdays. As part of the program, employees meet with a pharmacist to discuss ways to improve health and have a partner in their health journey.