ore than $41 billion a year in Medicare
costs could be saved if all beneficiaries
achieved ideal levels for five to seven heart-healthy habits to reduce cardiovascular
risk, according to research in Journal of the
American Heart Association, the Open Access Journal of the
American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.
The American Heart Association’s Life’s Simple 7 is
a composite measure of seven modifiable heart-healthy
factors: cigarette smoking, physical activity, diet, body mass
index, blood pressure, and cholesterol and glucose levels.
The higher one’s Life’s Simple 7 score, the nearer they are
to ideal health.
Researchers estimated the annual financial impact of
Life’s Simple 7 compliance using one year of follow-up data
from the Reasons for Geographic And Racial Differences
in Stroke (REGARDS) study, a national, population-based,
longitudinal study. They focused on Medicare claims for
6,262 participants over the age of 65 with fee-for-service
coverage and no prior history of cardiovascular disease.
In primary analyses, researchers found:
• Only 6. 4 percent of participants had five to seven
• Participants meeting fewer of the Life’s Simple 7
measures were more likely to be women, black, or be
unmarried, or have an annual income less than $20,000
or have less than a high school education.
• Those with higher scores were also less likely to have
inpatient all-cause encounters and inpatient and
outpatient cardiovascular disease-related encounters in
the year following their in-home study visit.
• Total inpatient and outpatient healthcare expenditures
were $5,016 less for participants with the most ideal
heart-healthy factors compared to those with the least
number of factors.
By extending estimates from the primary analyses
to corresponding 2014 Medicare beneficiaries,
• The potential annualized cost reduction is $19.2 billion,
22.0 billion, and 41. 2 billion for inpatient, outpatient and
total expenditures, respectively, if all Medicare beneficiaries
had five to seven ideal Life’s Simple 7 factors.
“The actual cost for persons with fewer than five to
seven factors is almost certainly higher,” according to
Kristal J. Aaron, Dr.P.H., M.S.P.H., lead author and clinical
data manager at the University of Alabama in Birmingham.
“Skilled nursing facility, home health and hospice care,
durable medical supplies, and medications were excluded
in this analyses; thus, our study was limited to inpatient
and outpatient visits for beneficiaries with Medicare fee-for-
service in the 2014 calendar year, so this is probably a very
She added that the data suggests that public health
strategies and initiatives improve the number of Life’s
Simple 7 factors across the population and age spectrum,
even those over 65 years of age “offer the potential for
significant cost savings, not just better health outcomes
and quality of life.”
Source: American Heart Association News
SEVEN HEART-HEALTHY HABITS
COULD SAVE BILLIONS IN