Podcast: Social Determinants of Health (SDOH)

Did you know that your genetics only make up a fraction of your overall health? Factors such as where you currently live, where you grew up, and your access to care are just a few of the Social Determinants of Health (SDOH), which insurance companies look at before underwriting individual and group policies. Tom joins us again to discuss how SDOH affects your health data and what communities across the country are doing to improve their overall health. Listen Below.

Are you doing everything you can to maintain your health? Are you exercising enough, watching your sugar intake, or maybe trying that Keto thing everyone is talking about? Even if you’re doing the basics, there may be things affecting your heath you may have never thought about, such as where you were born, or if you have reliable transportation.

In this installment of Tom Talks, Tom dives into the concept of Social Determinants of Health, and how those factors can affect regional health trends and even group health insurance rates.

Here are some highlights from the podcast:

What percent of a person’s health is attributed to social situation and environment? (2:11) “Twenty percent [of a person’s health], or rounded out here, is determined by a person’s social and environmental factors.”

Can you define social determinants of health? (3:06) “The economic and social conditions that influence an individual’s health status, essentially, your vulnerability to disease and injury.”

What are some main examples of social determinants of health? (3:41-6:30) “The leading five are, in no particular order, number one, housing insecurity…food insecurity…your transportation insecurity…income security…social isolation [and] loneliness.”

Do these social determinants of health affect group insurance rates? (12:53) “They gather all of this information and they underwrite it, and therefore they come up with rate structures based upon these social determinants of health and price for it accordingly.”

What is an example of how society is working on improving some of these social determinants of health? (13:32-19:20) “Number one is data analytics. Now because of our technology, almost everything is being measured and analyzed.” Tom goes on to provide multiple examples of social programs that promote improvements in SDOH.

Listen to the rest of the podcast above to learn more about SDOH.