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Meditation Can Reduce Health Care Costs
by Rick Nauert, PhD, Senior News Editor
PsychCentral Translate This Article
13 September 2011
On 13 September 2011 PsychCentral reported:
Stress can contribute to a wide array of health problems, and finding ways to reduce stress could presumably impact overall health care costs as well. A new study--published in the September/October 2011 issue of the American Journal of Health Promotion--suggests that meditation can do just that. According to the research, people with consistently high health care costs experienced a 28 percent cumulative decrease in physician fees after an average of five years practicing the stress-reducing Transcendental Meditation technique compared with their baseline.
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Experts have recognized that in most populations, a small fraction of people account for the majority of health care costs. In the U.S., the highest spending 10 percent in the general population incurred 60-70 percent of total medical expenditures annually. In the Medicare (older) population, the highest spending 5 percent incurred 43 percent of total Medicare costs; and the highest spending 25 percent of seniors accounted for 85 percent of total expenses. Individuals in these groups have consistently high medical bills year after year.
The new study compared physician costs for 284 consistent high-cost participants—142 Transcendental Meditation (TM) practitioners with 142 non-practitioners—over five years in Quebec, Canada. The TM group's annual health care costs declined significantly, while the comparison group's utilization showed no significant changes.
''This article has major policy significance for saving Medicare and Medicaid without cutting benefits or raising taxes,'' said study author Robert E. Herron, Ph.D., ''. . . . by adding coverage for learning the Transcendental Meditation technique.''
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