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Chronic disease driving up healthcare costs, experts say conditions are preventable

Posted at 2:29 PM, Apr 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-03 19:21:41-04

It seems like everything is going up in price these days, including the cost of healthcare. But those who work in the industry say that’s thanks in part to chronic disease – and some, they say, are preventable.

The CDC reports 60% of adults have at least one chronic health condition and 40% of adults have at least two or more. Dr. Donna Milavetz, executive medical director with Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah, defines a chronic disease as a medical condition that lasts longer than a year requiring ongoing care. It is a huge problem for our society as those healthcare costs continue to rise.

According to the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease, 4-point-1 trillion is spent annually nationwide treating chronic conditions. That’s 75 percent of the overall healthcare spending. While in Utah, nearly 18 billion was spent annually on chronic disease management. With an estimated cost per resident of 75-hundred dollars.

Even though we think ourselves as healthy, it’s an ongoing problem that we need to just address across the board. Right? It’s not just heart disease, its diabetes, its high cholesterol, it’s obesity.

More than 30 percent of the population in Utah is considered obese. Better than most states, but something Dr. Milavetz says can improved upon with diet and exercise. Simple things. Um, going out for walks, getting your 10,000 steps in per day. And she says staying on top of your regular screenings and doctors’ visits and keeping up with regular medications and treatments if you do have a chronic disease. Ignoring the problem won’t make it better, it makes it worse.

Most insured Utahns have healthcare through their employers and Dr. Milavetz also suggests taking advantage of incentives they may offer.