Abstract

Healthy life expectancy (HLE) combines a measure of morbidity with life expectancy to measure the average years of healthy life (YHL) projected for a cohort based on age, sex, and perhaps race or other characteristics, developed by public health officials to set goals and measure accomplishments in improving public health. Some forensic economists have adopted this data source to project how far into the future lost household or personal services should appropriately be claimed in case of death or injury. The measure of YHL adopted for the U.S. by the Department of Health and Human Services is not well suited to this forensic economic application; in the author's opinion, it is likely to overstate years of lost provision of household or personal services for an average member of the cohort; whether or not this opinion is correct, use of HLE invites vigorous cross-examination. The note concludes with suggested modification that would remove two objections to use of the measure for forensic economic application.

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