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KSL Editorial: Policy of prevention

By Con Psarras | Posted - Jul 31st, 2011 @ 9:00am



SALT LAKE CITY -- A corporation with more than 4,000 employees in Utah is the latest company to adjust its insurance plans to encourage workers to take individual responsibility for their health, which is a positive trend for all of us.

Hospital Corporation of America employees who agree to health screening procedures will be offered more options for coverage than employees who decline to take the tests. Many other Utah companies are offering discounts or reimbursements for workers who commit to fitness regimens or regular wellness assessments.

As far efforts to reign-in steadily increasing costs are concerned, these are right in the wheelhouse. Studies show that three out of every four dollars spent on health care are spent on conditions that are preventable. At the top of the list are diseases associated with obesity, which is on an alarmingly upward trajectory.

More than one out of four Utahns are technically obese -- that's up 90 percent in 15 years. The problem is acute among baby boomers, who will be claiming more and more health care resources as they age. And one study shows that the costs of treating overweight boomers for all conditions is 34 percent higher than treatment costs for those of normal weight.

KSL strongly supports a trend that encourages people to take a more conscientious approach to the state of their own health -- for their sake, and for the sake of all of us who continue to face the prospect of escalating insurance costs.

Email: cpsarras@ksl.com

Con Psarras

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