Authored by Sara Hoen

The benefits of a health risk assessment

February 7, 2023 | Family Medicine

Having a health risk assessment can benefit you and help you find proper treatment options. Learn more here.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), chronic conditions like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes are the leading causes of death in the United States and are also responsible for $4.1 trillion in healthcare costs.

Here’s the good news: With proper precautions, it is possible to prevent the development of chronic diseases, or manage existing conditions well enough to reduce exorbitant medical costs. The first step lies in visiting with your primary care physician and getting a thorough assessment of your health, which is typically done by completing a Health Risk Assessment.

What is a Health Risk Assessment?

A Health Risk Assessment (HRA), also known as a Health Risk Appraisal, is a type of questionnaire medical providers, employers, and health population experts use to determine and predict an individual’s health status. This screening tool surveys all possible aspects of a person’s health, including:

  • Biometrics: Age, height, weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, etc.
  • Family health history: Conditions like heart disease, some types of cancer, and diabetes are taken into account if there is a history of these among family members.
  • Social determinants of health: A person’s access to resources, such as education, healthcare, or housing, within a socioeconomic context.
  • Current lifestyle habits: Alcohol and tobacco use, physical activity, and diet are all factors that determine a person’s likelihood of developing chronic illnesses.

Why are HRAs important?

Currently, HRAs are required by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for all Medicare recipients. However, as many as 60% of the nation’s large employers have included HRAs in their employee health initiatives. From a financial standpoint, adopting HRAs in the workplace has proven to be beneficial in a number of ways, including improving employee wellness and saving costs on medical claims. Simply put, the more you and your provider understand the state of your health, the more likely you are to receive preventative treatment and save yourself valuable time and money.

Where can I get a Health Risk Assessment?

There are two easy ways to access an HRA:

  1. During your annual wellness visit
    A HRA is a key component to an annual wellness visit. In most cases, you will need to fill out a thorough questionnaire before you meet with your primary care doctor. Your doctor will then follow up with you about your family history, lifestyle, and mental health and work with you to create a plan for your healthcare needs.
  2. At your workplace
    Ask your employer if your company offers HRAs as part of a workplace wellness program; if not, talk to your Human Resources team about starting an HRA initiative. Many are surprised by how convenient and effective it is to encourage employees to take responsibility for their health. For example, the Commonwealth Fund reported one instance of successful HRA implementation in West Virginia’s Monongalia Health System, where mandatory HRAs and healthcare education classes resulted in significant medical claim reductions compared to other major employers.

Preventative care is one of the most important and cost-effective strategies to allow you to live the best and healthiest life you deserve. The act of filling out an HRA won’t cure your illness, however it is the first step toward recognizing your health status and actively seeking the right treatment with your provider.

Revere Health values preventative care as a method of enhancing quality of life for all patients. Click here to find a provider and learn more about annual wellness visits.

Zahra Nielsen


Zahra Nielsen

Zahra Nielsen currently serves as Revere Health’s Community Relations Specialist. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Science from Utah Valley University with the intention of working with at-risk communities, but she has since found a love for community engagement, volunteerism, and outreach. Since graduating, her career has taken her to non-profit organizations across the country. From Washington D.C, New York, and Salt Lake City, she has had the opportunity to work with notable organizations such as the National Council for Adoption, Volunteers of America, and United Way. After years of working in different areas of community engagement, Zahra has found her niche in writing. She hopes to pursue this creative form of outreach as a way of inspiring community members to be mindful of their well-being and the well-being of others. In her free time, Zahra likes to practice and teach yoga. She also enjoys live theatre, listening to music, and watching endless hours of quirky movies and TV shows with her husband.

Telehealth is not appropriate for every medical concern, so it’s important to ask your provider whether a virtual visit is suitable for your needs.

Learn more about Telehealth

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.