OBJECTIVES: To examine whether elimination of fatal diseases will increase healthcare costs. DESIGN: Mortality data from vital statistics combined with healthcare spending in a cause elimination life table. Costs were allocated to specific diseases through the various healthcare registers. SETTING AND SUBJECTS: The population of the Netherlands, 1988. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Healthcare costs of a synthetic life table cohort, expressed as life time expected costs. RESULTS: The life time expected healthcare costs for 1988 in the Netherlands were 56,600 Pounds for men and 80,900 Pounds for women. Elimination of fatal diseases--such as coronary heart disease, cancer, or chronic obstructive lung disease--increases healthcare costs. Major savings will be achieved only by elimination of non-fatal disease--such as musculoskeletal diseases and mental disorders. CONCLUSION: The aim of prevention is to spare people from avoidable misery and death not to save money on the healthcare system. In countries with low mortality, elimination of fatal diseases by successful prevention increases healthcare spending because of the medical expenses during added life years.

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B M J (Clinical Research Edition)
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Bonneux, L., Barendregt, J., Nusselder, W., & van der Maas, P. (1998). Preventing fatal diseases increases healthcare costs: cause elimination life table approach. B M J (Clinical Research Edition). Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/8766