Skip 
Navigation Link

1215 South Walnut Ave.
Demopolis, AL 36732 map map 

Access to Care: 800.239.2901

Health Policy & Advocacy
Resources
Basic InformationMore InformationLatest News
Pediatric Oncologists Willing to Consider Medical MarijuanaHow to Perk Up the Holidays for Hospital PatientsWhat to Do If Someone's Bleeding BadlyAre Good Kidneys Going to Waste?U.S. Gun Sales Rose After Sandy Hook Massacre: StudyCreating Your Family Health TreeLocal Smoke-Free Laws Tied to Fewer Lung Cancer CasesYour Doc Is Away? Substitute Doctors a Safe Option, Study FindsChecking Prices for Medical Procedures Online? Good LuckPatients More Prone to Complain About Younger DoctorsPatients Often Uncomfortable With Overlapping SurgeriesClinician Denial of Patient Requests Impacts SatisfactionPatients React Poorly When Docs Say 'No'Memo to Doctors: Spit Out the Bad NewsDoubts Raised About Use of Products Containing OxybenzoneReport: Industry Hid Decades-Old Study Showing Sugar's Unhealthy EffectsMany Health Care Providers Work While SickMore Patients Are Having a Say in Their Medical CareFDA Seeks to Speed Development of 'Regenerated' Organs for Medical UseHealth Care Experts in Favor of Patient Contribution to NotesMillions Could Miss Out on a Potential Alzheimer's BreakthroughU.S. May Still Benefit From Climate AccordHealth Tip: Spread Awareness of the Opioid EpidemicKnowing Too Much About Your Genes Might Be RiskyHealth Tip: Participating in a Clinical TrialMusic, Video Help Sixth-Graders Master Hands-Only CPRIncreases in U.S. Health Spending Tied to Health Service PriceHealth Tip: Prevent Germs at the Doctor's OfficeInfo Via Social Media Apps May Increase Vaccine AcceptanceIt's 'Buyer Beware' When Purchasing Medical Pot Extract OnlineGetting Self-Driving Cars on the Road Soon Might Save LivesHealth Tip: Defining Health LiteracyDoctor Burnout: A Big Health Threat in U.S.About Half of Americans Get Health Care in ERPricing Interventions Increase Sales, Intake of Healthy FoodsHealth Tip: Get to Know Your PharmacistRobots May Be Cleaning Your Hospital Room SoonCMS Launches Initiative to Examine Impact of RegulationsPatients Prefer Face-to-Face Communication, No ComputerDrop Off Your Unused Meds Saturday on 'Take Back Day'Concerns Surround Use of Direct-to-Consumer Genetic TestingMost Patients Satisfied With Relationship With PhysicianModule Developed to Improve Adult Vaccination RatesA Drug Company's Gift Might Change How Your Doctor PrescribesAlmost 4 in 10 Tanning Salons Flout State LawsDEA Taking Back Unwanted Prescription Drugs on Oct. 28Most in U.S. Don't Agree That Household Guns Up Suicide RiskCan Gun Shows Trigger Gun Violence?Tighter Rules on Arsenic in Water Saved Lives: StudyHerbal and Dietary Supplements Are Commonly Mislabeled
Questions and AnswersVideosLinksBook Reviews
Related Topics

Health Insurance
Healthcare

Food Stamp Benefits May Lower Health Care Costs

HealthDay News
by -- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
Updated: Sep 25th 2017

new article illustration

MONDAY, Sept. 25, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Health care costs could drop for poor Americans who participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), new research suggests.

SNAP was formerly known as the Food Stamp Program.

A study led by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital found SNAP participants spent roughly $1,400 less on health care each year than other low-income individuals who were not involved in the program.

"These savings are significant, especially because SNAP is not designed as a health care program," study leader Dr. Seth Berkowitz said in a hospital news release.

"Prior studies have found that food insecurity is associated with higher health care costs, and our findings indicate that directly addressing social determinants of health -- such as food insecurity -- could be an important way to lower costs," said Berkowitz, who is with the hospital's division of general internal medicine.

Participants in SNAP receive a monthly benefit they can use to buy certain food products. The U.S. government determines who is eligible for the program, but states determine SNAP enrollment policies. Currently, about one in seven Americans is involved, the study authors said.

Not being able to follow a healthy diet could contribute to conditions such as obesity and type 2 diabetes, the researchers said. Poor adults may also have to choose between buying food and their medications. In addition, financial stress can take a toll on people's heath.

For the study, the researchers analyzed data from two national health surveys. In particular, Berkowitz and colleagues looked at the health care expenditures and SNAP participation of over 4,400 low-income adults.

Initially, the researchers saw little difference in annual health care costs. But when they took contributing factors into account -- such as more health issues and more disability among low-income individuals -- they calculated SNAP participation could lower health care costs by $1,400 per person per year.

However, Berkowitz acknowledged that the study doesn't establish cause and effect.

"It is possible that some factor we were not able to account for could explain these results," he said. Still, "the evidence that SNAP participation can lower health care costs appears strong," he added.

"Receiving SNAP benefits could make it easier to follow recommended diets to manage chronic illness, free up resources that would otherwise be spent on food for other disease management activities, and reduce stress over concerns such as where one's next meal is coming from," he said.

The findings were published Sept. 25 in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

More information

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has more about SNAP.