Drinking coffee reduces healthcare costs

Oct. 13, 2014

For decades researchers have revealed many scientific pros of coffee consumption. Just this year, a Cornell University study found that coffee could help prevent deteriorating eyesight; a study published in the journal Diabetologia found that coffee drinkers who increased their coffee consumption by more than one cup per day had an 11 percent lower risk of type 2 diabetes; and another published study found that a minor ingredient of coffee could protect against Alzheimer’s disease. And now, there is even more reason to support the drink. In a first-ever health economic analysis on coffee consumption, Xcenda found that coffee consumption is associated with an increase in life years and a reduction in healthcare costs.

Estimated savings

Xcenda’s research looked to examine the effectiveness and value of health-affecting behaviors on a population, such as drinking coffee. The company reviewed the potential health economic impact of coffee consumption in the U.S. for healthcare payers over one year by estimating the healthcare cost savings of coffee consumption associated with prevention of chronic disease. Of the diseases included in the analyses, the effect on diabetes prevention was the most impactful and was responsible for $175 annual healthcare savings per coffee drinker. The research also showed that coffee consumption may be a cost-effective way to prevent chronic disease such as Alzheimer's, depression, diabetes, heart failure, Parkinson's and stroke as well as cancer.

"Our health economic model estimated that coffee consumption prevents over 50,000 deaths per year due to chronic disease and cancer and results in an estimated healthcare savings of $33.4 billion per year," said Ken O'Day, PhD, MPA, and director at Xcenda. "This shows us that coffee may be more than just a morning pick-me-up." The study found that the annual healthcare savings per coffee drinker is $225.

An additional key finding in the study showed that coffee consumption was associated with increased life years at a population level. Moderate coffee drinkers gained a half-year over their lifetime compared a 1.8 to 4.5 life year gain for a physically active person.


The research conducted by Xcenda was analyzed in an economic model and looked at population-level coffee consumption across the U.S. by reviewing meta-analyses on the association of coffee and chronic diseases and cancers. "This is the first time that coffee consumption has been analyzed through the lens of health economics," said Amy Grogg, PharmD, president, AmerisourceBergen Consulting Services, in a prepared statement. "With our new healthcare system being hyper-focused on reducing costs and improving outcomes, health economic research critically examines the effectiveness and value of health-affecting behaviors, resources and systems on a population. When we applied a health economic analysis to coffee, we were excited to see that this morning necessity may be a cost-effective means to improve health outcomes."

Xcenda's coffee study findings — presented at the 2014 International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Researchconference — were conducted and tested by fellows and seasoned researchers throughout 2013.