CalPERS could have saved between $18 million and $54 million on health care costs in 2008 if between 5% and 15% of the public pension system's members had avoided preventable chronic health conditions, according to a report by the Urban Institute, the AP/Sacramento Bee reports (Lin, AP/Sacramento Bee, 5/1).
For the report, researchers examined the health records of nearly 556,000 state workers and their dependents covered by CalPERS health plans (Ortiz, "The State Worker," Sacramento Bee, 4/30).
The study found that in 2008, CalPERS spent $1.6 billion on health care services. According to the report, about $362 million -- or 22% -- of that was spent on preventable health conditions, such as high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.
Program Aims To Curb Preventable Conditions
On Monday, State Controller John Chiang (D), State Treasurer Bill Lockyer (D) and Mehmet Oz -- health advocate and host of "The Dr. Oz Show" -- presented the study findings during the launch of a pilot program aimed to help public workers improve their health.
The program will focus on health education, employee screenings and creating supportive physical and social environments. The initiative is a collaboration between:
- The state,
- The California Endowment,
- Kaiser Permanente,
- Service Employees International Union Local 1000; and
- HealthCorps, Oz's Sacramento-based not-for-profit that aims to curb childhood obesity.
Oz said he hopes that the program will serve as a model for the rest of the U.S. (AP/Sacramento Bee