Background: The AHA’s 2020 Strategic Goals emphasize the value of favorable modifiable risk factor (MRF) profile to reduce the burden of CVD morbidity and mortality. In this study we aimed to quantify the overall and incremental impact of MRF on health care expenditure in the U.S among those with and without CVD.
Methods: The study population was derived from the 2012 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), a nationally representative adult sample (≥ 40 years). Direct costs were calculated for all-cause health care resource utilization. Variables of interest included CVD diagnoses (coronary artery disease, stroke, peripheral artery disease, dysrhythmias or heart failure), ascertained by ICD-9-CM codes, and MRF (hypertension, diabetes mellitus, hypercholesterolemia, smoking, physical activity and/or obesity). Two-part econometric models were utilized to study cost data; a generalized linear model with gamma distribution and link log was used to assess expenditures, taking into consideration the survey’s complex design.
Results: The final study sample consisted of 15,651 MEPS participants (57 ± 12 years, 52% female). Overall, 6,231 (39%) had 0-1, 7,429 (49%) had 2-3, and 1,991 (12%) had ≥ 4 MRF, translating to 55.5, 69.9 and 17.9 million adults ≥ 40 years in U.S, respectively. Generally, there was a direct decrease in health expenditures with favorable MRF across CVD status (Table). These differences persisted after taking into account demographics, insurance status and comorbid conditions. Among those without established CVD, the average medical expenditure was $4,013 (95% CI 5,117, 2,910) and $2,696 (95% CI 4,416, 977) lower for those with 0-1 & 2-3 MRF, as compared to those with ≥ 4 MRF.
Conclusion: Favorable MRF profile is associated with significantly lower medical expenditure among individuals with and without established CVD. Our study provides robust estimates for potential healthcare savings with nationwide policies focusing on preventing and managing modifiable CV risk factors.