Study calculates employer cost of heart conditions

Los Angeles – Heart attacks among workers cost employers thousands of dollars in disability claims, lost time and reduced productivity, according to a new study from the University of Colorado.

Using data from the Integrated Benefits Institute’s Health and Productivity Benchmarking Database, researchers determined costs for more than 37,000 employees and dependents with acute coronary syndrome from 2007 to 2010. ACS refers to situations in which the blood supply to the heart is blocked, including heart attack and angina.

The annual health care cost for each worker was $8,170, according to a press release from the American Heart Association. Employers paid more in disability costs than direct costs, and experienced a productivity loss per claim of approximately $7,943 for short-term disability and $52,473 for long-term disability.

Additionally, workers with ACS lost roughly 60 days of work in the short term and 397 days in the long term.

Researchers suggested focusing on risk factor modification, such as quitting smoking and losing weight.

The study was presented Nov. 5 at AHA’s Scientific Sessions.

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