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The Real Cost of Poor Health
The Real Cost of Poor Health

The Real Cost of Poor Health

Living an unhealthy life is inextricably linked to the financial downside.

Health and wealth are related in different ways, such as the cost of unhealthy habits and their consequences.

Poor health contributes to reducing an individual’s income-generating resulting in a negative feedback loop – the health poverty trap.

Unhealthy living habits such as smoking, alcohol and substance abuse, lack of physical activity, and unhealthy diets result in various diseases that burden affected individuals financially and physically.

These habits cause both acute and chronic diseases such as cancer, obesity, cardiovascular diseases, etc.

Treating such diseases is very costly, and the welfare losses to an individual due to illness and disease are very significant, especially if they have no health insurance cover. Suffering individuals become weak and indisposed.

This affects productivity, growth, and economic development for the individual, workplace, and country.

Effect on productivity

Poor health of an individual lowers the amount of labor they can supply. Even though some of these diseases allow you to maintain your capacity at work, productivity is often gravely impaired.

Productivity is also lowered or impaired by the high absenteeism from those suffering from various illnesses. Reduction in productivity of labor as a result of individuals’ hospitalization or morbidity is consequential.

Poor health, therefore, affects total factor productivity. A company or a country that experiences widespread ill health or malnourished individuals realizes a distortion in their budget due to rising demands for the health care system.

Resources for other services, therefore, have to be diverted to meet these demands.

Loss of time and resources

The unhealthy living of individuals impacting their health negatively has consequential effects on the workplace. Paying individuals on sick leave is very costly to employers. There is a great deal of time lost that costs businesses money due to less labor productivity.

Also, businesses relocate resources meant for other social activities to their healthcare system to cover individuals. Apart from lost working days, there are resources and time spent on training and sourcing for replacements.

There are delays in projects due to absent individuals as training replacements take over takes time. There is a general workplace disruption, and this affects the general productivity of a business.

Expensive insurance

The best way for individuals suffering from various lifestyle diseases to receive treatment is through healthcare coverage. Achieving universal health coverage has been a major health challenge across many countries.

Most people cannot afford universal health coverage and receive healthcare services through publicly organized risk pooling organizations to safeguard them against devastating healthcare expenditures.

Due to limited resources, individuals have to rely on the out-of-pocket payment of healthcare services. Carrying the burden of financial cost tends to have adverse economic effects on individuals.

Diseases resulting from unhealthy lifestyles are expensive to treat and often require costly insurance policies too. Private insurance is often unaffordable for the poor, and some individuals succumb to such diseases due to unaffordable insurance.

Health insurance is associated with the appropriate utilization of better health outcomes and health care services for individuals suffering from poor health.

The required healthcare services include screening services, cancer care, chronic disease management, and hospital-based care. Covering these services in an insurance policy is expensive and often financially impacts an individual.

Due to expensive insurance coverage, uninsured individuals use fewer healthcare services like screening and prevention and delay seeking care when sick. This results in higher morbidity and mortality rates for the uninsured.

Poor health directly impacts individuals with a significant economic impact due to lost earnings from sick days and low productivity at work.

Expensive lifestyle impact

Poor health is often a result of an unhealthy lifestyle that becomes very expensive due to insurance coverage, low productivity, and costly treatments.

Making lifestyle changes will save money on healthcare, so embracing good health is a great way of saving healthcare costs. You can adopt one or two lifestyle changes and see how they impact your financial status long-term.

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