November 26, 2013
Regardless of whether you like the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or you dont, it has the potential to increase the visibility and usage of dietary supplements. But while all the current attention is on the ACA website, a key provision where much of the cost-savings is expected to come from in future yearsis going largely unnoticed. This is the title on Prevention and Wellness Plans.
The law provides that insurers should develop pilot programs to investigate individualized wellness plans that help address identified risk factors of disease before they manifest as full-blown diseases. It incentivizes insurers to establish these plans and determine if they do in fact lead to healthier outcomes that are cheaper for the healthcare system than costly treatment options.
CRN worked to get this provision added into healthcare legislation in 2009 so that if the bill passed, insurers would have another reason to consider dietary supplement regimens as a way to help keep their insureds healthy and perhaps reduce their own premiums as a result. The provision calls for the inclusion of dietary supplements with established health claims to be utilized in these pilot programs and will compare individuals involved in the pilot programs with a control group of individuals with respect to the risk factor being targeted. This provision of the ACA has important potential for the dietary supplement industry and our consumers -- but we have to act or miss this opportunity.
First, we have to get our houses in order when it comes to Good Manufacturing Practices. Failing to live up to the basic quality standards for manufacturing imposed by the GMP regulations could easily overshadow all the potential benefits that well-made, quality supplements can provide. We have to know with certainty whats in our products and how theyre made if we want to impress the healthcare community. Consider ACA as one more reason to comply with GMPs.
Second, we need to work with the Department of Health & Human Services to get the appropriations funding for these pilot programs. Thats where having friends in Congress can be helpful. CRN is on Capitol Hill weekly to educate members of Congress about the health benefits of dietary supplements and encourage implementation of these wellness plans. Having additional attention from voters back home reminds Congress that the supplement industry is thriving and means jobs for voting constituents. Dont overlook the opportunity to contact your own Member.
Finally, we need to demonstrate to the healthcare community that the use of dietary supplements can actually reduce healthcare costs. Through the CRN Foundation, we have just released a study commissioned with Frost & Sullivan that looks at eight supplement regimens and found that use of these supplements at preventive levels by adults with coronary heart disease, age-related eye disease, and osteoporosis can save the healthcare system billions of dollars from the medical costs associated with these diseases. For more information, visit www.supplementforsmartprevention.org.
So whether you are a Blue State or a Red, take note of the fact that focusing on prevention and wellness are the most effective ways to reduce the escalating costs of treatment-centered healthcare in this country. And dietary supplements are poised to take a leading role in that future.
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