Though much is being done to help curb the costs of providing health care, the unfortunate truth is that they’re still rising faster than the rate of inflation. And that trend is expected to continue, at least for the near future.
There are a number of factors that have contributed to the rising costs over the past decade, such as:
- Government regulations
- Expansion of health care providers
- New medical technology
- Increased consumer demand
- Higher prescription drug costs
- Medical cost inflation
Those are a few of the contributing factors that are, unfortunately, just out of your control. But there are, however, a few others that you can actually impact, either for your family or within your organization. Here they are…
- Unhealthy lifestyles – An estimated 86 percent of the nation’s health care costs goes to cover chronic conditions. And, while genetics may plan a role in why some people suffer from these conditions, unhealthy habits like tobacco use, lack of exercise, and poor nutrition are more often the reason people develop chronic health problems.
- Prescription drugs – There are a number of ways you or your employees can make the most of your prescription drug plan. By choosing generic drugs when they’re available and talking with your doctor about more affordable options, you can often easily find ways to save money on the drugs you require.
- Lack of cost consideration – When people have health insurance that covers the majority of their costs, they rarely think twice about the cost of the medical services they obtain. As a result, they can incur higher costs than necessary or consumer more care than they really need, both of which drive up prices.
- Incorrect care setting – Choosing the appropriate place to receive care is another way to help reduce unnecessary expenses. Save the ER for actual life-threatening emergencies, and utilize urgent care centers to address less serious problems. If a condition is not serious or causing extreme discomfort, consider calling to schedule an appointment with your primary care physician.
- Incorrect health plan selection – It’s important to remember that plans with lower premiums carry higher deductibles and that you’ll pay more for plans with deductibles that are more affordable. Carefully evaluating your options and needs will help you find the plan that’s the best value and fit for your health care budget.
- No end-of-life care planning – Too few people plan ahead for long-term or end-of-life care, which costs on average over $6,000 per month (for a semi-private room in a nursing home). Planning ahead for these expenses can help you avoid unexpected costs.
- Low health care literacy – It’s estimated that over 77 million Americans don’t have the health literacy they need to complete common health tasks like reading a prescription drug label or making health care decisions. Low health literacy often results in higher utilization of expensive health services like emergency care and inpatient visits.
There are many contributors to the rising health care costs that you can’t control. But, for those you can, give us a call! We can help.