Economic Impact of Health

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Economic Impact of health

Everyone pays for the cost of poor health. As more people develop chronic conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke, health insurance premiums continue to increase. These same conditions have a negative impact if the business offers health insurance due to high premiums. Sick employees also request more sick days or come in to work, but are less productive when they do not feel well. They also adversely affect profit margins. Communities have to cover the cost of poor health, too, which compete against programs and services that might otherwise be used to fund education, economic development and other initiatives.

Raising the Bar County Health Tool

Having access to credible, unbiased information and understanding the connections between these pieces of data are critical for making smart policy decisions. As a result, IEI created Raising the Bar, a county health tool that explores the inter-linkages of health, environment, economic, and education on healthcare costs. At the 2011 Emerging Issues Forum, IEI released this interactive county-level tool to allow counties across the state to see how improvements in any one of these variables can improve health outcomes and save money. Based upon user feedback, the environment variable was changed from affordable housing to food insecurity in August 2011.

This tool has been used at several statewide events, including the N.C. Association of County Commissioner’s 104thAnnual Conference on August 19, 2011. It has been shared in classrooms and other venues, such as with nursing students at East Carolina University. More than 1,500 individuals have accessed the tool through the IEI website since January 2011.

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