Depression Highlights Costly, Avoidable Health Risks

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Depressed workers make up about 11-percent of the work force and that adds up to a lot of medical spending for employers. According to a study published in Health Affairs, those suffering depression spent almost 50-percent more than their nondepressed counterparts.

As David Pittman reports for Medpage Today, more than 22-percent of annual healthcare spending goes to so-called ‘modifiable health risks’, or health problems that could be avoided through healthier living. This includes not only depression, but also obesity, high blood sugar, high-stress and tobacco use.

The correlation between increased insurance costs and these potentially avoidable health problems suggests a clear solution and one that has already been covered by the federal Affordable Care Act. Employers need to encourage an adoption of health promotion and implement risk reduction programs. The initial cost of these actions will certainly be worth it to avoid big medical spending down the road.

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