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02 May 14 07:51

If you are a statistician, you may face this dilemma.... To project or not to project?

I have been writing about the need for designing appropriate insurance products for Diabetics. Few years ago, first ever critical illness insurance for the diabetic population was introduced.The assumptions made at that time have now been proven right. We felt that most projections over-estimate a risk when the predictions are made at an early stage of introduction of a new diagnostic tool or technique or at an inflexion point when such tools are readily accessible/affordable. This assumption was based on the HIV/AIDS projections in the UK which possibly underestimated positive effects of a competing risk- increased awareness.The risk averse population which buys insurance, on being constantly beamed with messages about a disease or ill effects of a habit, tends to seek better ways to mitigate such risks. Several years down the lane after the 'Framinhgam Study' , we now know from the CDC data that there is a big decline in 5 major diabetes-related complications among the U.S. adults.

The key findings of the CDC study include:
- Cardiovascular complications and deaths from high blood sugar decreased by more than 60% each.
- The rates of both strokes and lower extremity amputations declined by 50% 
- Rates for end stage kidney failure fell by about 30%.

Here, I am NOT making a statement that we should ignore completely the risks of diabetes-related complications. The observed decrease, for now, may be predominant in only one section of the diabetic population but it does add strength to a belief that it is not so unreasonable to make an assumption that increased availability of healthcare services, and an increase in awareness of the potential complications of diabetes will slow down the incidence of complications. This decrease could be accelerated with better health financing mechanisms including insurance products for early detection of such complications,disease management, etc....Good time to innovate?? There was never a good time.... it's always a good time to innovate...


Category: Funding longer lives: Health/medicine


2 Comments

Jennifer Rodney - 2 May 2014, 3:03 p.m.

Hi Ashok. I personally believe a better-educated patient is beneficial - not only for the patient him or her self - but also for the insurance industry. Prevention is less costly and of course preferable. The insurance industry can play a potentially useful role in educating its consumers - not only when it comes to health-insurance but in other areas as well.

Ashok Kumar - 5 May 2014, 7:41 a.m.

I agree Jennifer ! Wellness is an integral part of health care- time for all stakeholders to invest for better outcomes...


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