How Following Your Doctor’s Advice Can Save You $89,000

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Here’s a relatively easy way to boost your retirement savings: Follow the doctor’s orders.

Actively managing a chronic medical condition can spare you some $89,000 in health care costs over the course of your life, according to a recent report by HealthyCapital, which seeks to help folks stick to health plans so they can reap such benefits.

HealthyCapital CEO Ron Mastrogiovanni explains:

“Patients who follow doctor’s orders will not only save money pre-retirement, but lower medical expenses during retirement because they will be healthier. Also, by choosing to invest, rather than spend, the annual savings, individuals can significantly increase their retirement income.”

The costs of chronic disease

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least half of American adults have at least one chronic condition. And these diseases account for 7 in 10 deaths and most health care costs in the U.S.

The CDC continues:

“Chronic diseases and conditions — such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, type 2 diabetes, obesity and arthritis — are among the most common, costly, and preventable of all health problems.

For example, HealthyCapital reports that cardiovascular disease — including high blood pressure and high cholesterol — affects about 102.7 million people and is responsible for $318 billion in medical expenses in the U.S. every year. Diabetes, affecting about 30 million people, costs $176 billion a year.

An $89,000 case study

HealthyCapital’s report includes a case study of a 45-year-old man, John, who has had high blood pressure — 150/95 — for five years.

HealthyCapital initially classifies his condition as “average managed,” because John doesn’t always remember to take his medications or follow his suggested diet.

Once John starts adhering to the following medical suggestions, his condition is considered “well managed” instead:

  • Complies with medication directions
  • Exercises 30 minutes per day, five days per week
  • Moderates alcohol consumption
  • Chooses healthy fats
  • Limits sodium consumption
  • Stops smoking (if applicable)

These changes can net John $89,456 in savings over the remainder of his life. HealthyCapital projects:

  • If 45-year-old John spent the rest of his life managing his condition averagely, he’d spend $138,288 on out-of-pocket health care costs pre-retirement and another $51,790 in retirement.
  • If 45-year-old John spent the rest of his life managing his condition well, he’d spend $72,591 pre-retirement and $28,031 in retirement.

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