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Moody’s Report First to Measure Social Effects on Health in Every County

Aimee Sharp
Author | Shield HealthCare
01/02/18  11:42 AM PST
Social Effects on Health

By Gregory A. Freeman for Health Leaders Media

A recent report is the first of its kind to identify the health conditions with the most impact on the commercially insured, along with the socioeconomic factors that play into them, for every county in the United States.

Moody’s Analytics report, prepared for the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA), breaks down the links between social determinants of health and differences in health across communities.

Moody’s Analytics utilized the Blue Cross Blue Shield Health Index, which identifies the health conditions with the greatest impact on the commercially insured in each county, pairing it with data on socioeconomics and other social determinants of health. The combination reveals how the level of health impact of these conditions is influenced by factors such as income, level of education, community health behaviors ,and local health system characteristics, the companies report.

The report, “Understanding Health Conditions Across the U.S.,” shows that social determinants of health drive larger differences in the impacts for common chronic conditions such as hypertension, diabetes and coronary artery disease. In addition, the analysis shows these determinants drive smaller differences in the impact of other conditions such as cancer, substance use disorder and mental health, which are influenced more by individual factors such as family health history and personal lifestyle choices.

Differences in local healthcare system characteristics have a more modest association with the health impact of disease on a community’s commercially insured population, the report says.

Maureen Sullivan, chief strategy and innovation officer for BCBSA, says the analysis shows the need for continued improvements in the economic opportunities and social influences that drive healthy behaviors within a community.

The BCBS Health Index uses de-identified data from more than 40 million commercially insured members of BCBS companies. The index shows that five conditions nationally are responsible for 30% of the adverse health of this population: depression, anxiety and other mood disorders; hypertension; diabetes; high cholesterol; and substance use disorders.

Read the Full Article on Health Leaders Media.