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Reformed Church in America – Analysis of HeartMath Experience

Mac McCarthy, FSA, MAAA, Michelle Mudge-Riley, D.O., MHA

November, 2009.

For a PDF version of the complete paper, click here.

Executive Summary

Introduction and Background: Since 2007, The Reformed Church in America (RCA) has offered employees the opportunity to participate in the Revitalize You program provided by HeartMath, LLC. McCarthy Actuarial Consulting, LLC (MAC) was retained by RCA to analyze their experience during 2007 and 2008 to determine what impact HeartMath has had on RCA's medical benefit costs.

RCA absorbs all associated costs, including incentives to employees who participate in the Revitalize You program. This analysis will evaluate the impact this program has had on medical and pharmacy utilization of the HeartMath participants, relative to Non-Participants. This evaluation will be used to estimate the savings, if any, that can reasonably be assumed to have resulted from this program.

Census and program participation data for this analysis was provided by RCA and claims data was provided by United Health Care, the claim administrator. This data has not been audited by MAC, but appears to be accurate for the purpose intended.

Approach: We defined two cohorts of RCA employees, those who completed the Revitalize You program prior to December 31, 2007 and those who, as of the end of 2008, had not participated in the HeartMath program. Only employees who had continuous coverage from January 1, 2007 through December 31, 2008 were included in either cohort.

For each cohort we collected claims experience incurred in calendar years 2007 and 2008. This experience was analyzed by diagnoses (medical) and therapeutic (pharmacy) categories. The key metric was covered charges per employee per year. Other metrics calculated to aid our analyses included incidence rates and cost per utilization unit.

Findings: Adjusted annual medical cost trends were dramatically lower for HeartMath Participants than for Non-Participants (-3.8% vs. +9.0%). Pharmacy cost trends were also significantly lower for HeartMath Participants than for Non-Participants (7.9% vs. 13.3%).

Total 2008 savings due to the HeartMath program are estimated at $585 per Participant, compared to HeartMath fees of $300, yielding a Return on Investment of 1.95:1.00. It is expected that savings will continue to grow, but no further HeartMath fees will be incurred for these Participants.

Recommendations: To build on the apparent success of the HeartMath program, the following actions are recommended.

  • Continue monitoring HeartMath Participants and Non-Participants to confirm future savings expectations.
  • Continue monitoring HeartMath Participants and Non-Participants to confirm future savings expectations.
  • Determine the amount of “crossover” between HeartMath and other wellness initiatives and evaluate the effectiveness of other wellness initiatives.
  • Consider offering HeartMath to covered spouses based on analysis of medical and pharmacy data.