The Growing Health and Economic Crisis of Chronic Conditions in the U.S.

These health conditions are driving up healthcare costs. Here’s how a new IEEE member benefit can help prepare for them

3 min read


In the next five years, it is estimated that ongoing, chronic illnesses or conditions like heart disease, cancer, stroke, arthritis, and diabetes, among others, will impact nearly half the U.S. population and be responsible for 7 out of every 10 deaths.1 Currently, 60% of Americans are living with one chronic condition; 40% with two or more.2


People with chronic conditions are the primary users of healthcare services: they account for 81% of hospital admissions; 91% of all prescriptions filled; and 76% of all physician visits.1 Chronic conditions contribute to 90% of all healthcare spending3 (99% of Medicare spending1) and are the leading cause of the significant increases in healthcare costs in the U.S.

  • Healthcare premiums for employer-sponsored family coverage have increased 87% since 2000.1

  • Healthcare costs for people with a chronic condition are five times higher ($7,900 annually) than for those without a condition.4

  • Average deductible and coinsurance payments increased 176% and 67%, respectively, over a 10-year period and out-of-pocket spending rose 54%.5

While chronic conditions are driving up the costs and usage of healthcare, they are often preventable.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates1 that eliminating these three risk factors — poor diet, inactivity, and smoking — would prevent:

  • 80% of heart disease and stroke.

  • 80% of type 2 diabetes.

  • 40% of cancer.

Regardless of age, you can act and make lifestyle changes to help prevent a chronic condition from happening to you. Now is also a good time to start preparing financially in case such a condition impacts your family.

Your basic health insurance covers many of the medical and treatment costs associated with a chronic condition. But most policies have deductibles, limitations, and benefit maximums that could become expensive with an ongoing chronic condition. For this reason, insurance carriers are beginning to offer chronic illness insurance policies and riders to help offset out-of-pocket expenses.

Recently, to evolve with the changing health and lifestyle needs of its members, IEEE negotiated to add a chronic illness rider to its IEEE Member Group Term Life Insurance Plan.

Based on member feedback and concerns about the financial impact of long-term chronic illness and the need for all-inclusive coverage, IEEE backed this particular benefit because it offered broad coverage for a variety of chronic conditions, unlike some plans that may limit coverage to one or a few specific illnesses or diseases.

With this rider, insured individuals under age 80 can accelerate some of their term-life insurance benefits if they qualify for chronic illness benefits. These benefits can be used to pay for medical or other expenses they choose.

The chronic illness rider is available to IEEE Members and spouses under age 65 residing in the U.S., (excluding Connecticut, Idaho, Louisiana, Minnesota, Montana, North Carolina, Ohio, South Dakota, Utah, and Washington).

Visit  for more details.*

This information is provided by the IEEE Member Group Member Insurance Program Administrator, Mercer Health & Benefits Administration, LLC, in partnership with IEEE to provide IEEE Members with important insurance, health and lifestyle information.

*Including features, costs, eligibility, renewability, limitations, and exclusions.

The IEEE Member Group Term Life Insurance Plan is available in the U.S. (except territories), Puerto Rico and Canada (except Quebec). This plan is underwritten by New York Life Insurance Company, 51 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10010 on Policy Form GMR

The IEEE Member Group Insurance Program is administered by:

Mercer Health & Benefits Administration LLC, 12421 Meredith Drive, Urbandale, IA 50398

In CA d/b/a Mercer Health & Benefits Insurance Services LLC, AR Insurance License #100102691 CA Insurance License #0G39709, 87572 (5/19) Copyright 2019 Mercer LLC. All rights reserved.


1. The Growing Crisis of Chronic Disease in the United States, Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease

2. About Chronic Diseases, Center for Disease Control

3. Health and Economic Costs of Chronic Diseases, Center for Disease Control

4. “The Rising Cost of Healthcare by Year and Its Causes,” Kimberly Adadeo. The Balance

5. “Increases in cost-sharing payments continue to outpace wage growth,” Gary Claxton, Larry Levitt, Matthew Rae and Bradley Sawyer; Kaiser Family Foundation. Peterson-Kaiser Health System Tracker

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