Live long, stay healthy

A little encouraging news from a study of health care costs and longevity. Longer life itself does not necessarily mean greater overall health care costs.

“The basic lesson of our study is that although healthy people live longer, they don’t cost more in the long run,” said Jim Lubitz, acting chief of the Aging Studies Branch in the statistics center’s Office of Analysis, Epidemiology and Health Promotion. “Improving health should be the overall goal of our health care policy, but it’s not going to save the Medicare system.”


“Longer life in itself will not add to Medicare costs,” Harvard economist David M. Cutler wrote in an editorial. But “Social Security (news – web sites) costs increase with longevity. In total, therefore, aging will result in increased public spending.”