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Health policy research with real-world perspective

For decades, we have proudly served multiple U.S. government agencies whose missions are to improve the health and well-being of our citizens and our Veterans.

For example, in 2013, the VA commissioned the Lewin Group (an Optum® business unit) to study the economic impact of diabetes, mental illness and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) on Veterans.

According to the study, nearly one in four Veterans receiving care at VA centers has diabetes. About 300,000 Veterans who returned from Iraq and Afghanistan now suffer from PTSD or major depression. More than 600,000 Veterans are estimated to be affected by PTSD.

Our research efforts in this area are helping to quantify the total economic burden associated with these diseases, and assist with the development of policies and intervention programs that can reduce health care costs while raising productivity and quality of life.

Similarly, another Lewin study in 2014 found that the Department of Defense (DoD) spent an estimated $6.2 billion on medical care associated with tobacco use and exposure ($1.7 billion), excess weight ($3.1 billion), and alcohol overconsumption ($1.3 billion).

Additionally, the DoD incurs $347 million per year in non-medical costs associated with these three behaviors due to absenteeism, reduced work performance, alcohol-related arrests and early separation from the military.

The DoD used these findings on the economic impact of adverse health behaviors to develop the business case for population health initiatives that are currently being implemented.


Learn more about how Optum can help the VA’s mission to improve Veteran health care.