Study says dropout rate raises health costs

An increase in the graduation rate among this year’s high school classes in New Hampshire would mean a cut of $64 million in lifetime health costs for the state, according to the Alliance for Excellent Education in its new brief.

In its new brief, “Healthier and Wealthier: Decreasing Health Care Costs by Increasing Educational Attainment,” funded by the MetLife Foundation, the alliance caclculates state savings – based on the assumption that health-care costs are highest for the least educated — by combining the lifetime costs of Medicaid and expenditures for uninsured care, then multiplying the total by the number of students who drop out of New Hampshire’s high schools.

Thus, if the more students who graduate, the more savings the state realizes, the alliance argues.

“This study shows clearly that providing quality education not only improves students’ lives, but also saves taxpayers dollars,” said Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia. “A high school diploma opens the door to physical health as well as financial health.”

According to the brief, Americans with higher educational attainment have more insurance coverage, individuals who lack health insurance receive less medical care and have poorer health outcomes, and lower education levels generally lead to occupations with greater health hazards.

Healthier and Wealthier: Decreasing Health Care Costs by Increasing Educational Attainment is available at – JEFF FEINGOLD

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