Healthcare costs remain a top concern among Americans, and more than one quarter of adults report they or someone in their household has reduced medication dosage, or had difficulty affording needed services due to rising expenses.
An aging population, increasing chronic disease rates and rising prices for drugs, procedures and technologies are driving healthcare costs upwards. Although health care reform has helped slow this increase in expenses, much more needs to be done in order to bring down healthcare expenses.
Cost of Care
Comparative to other high-income countries, the United States spends much more on healthcare. Our per capita and as a percentage of GDP spending on healthcare exceeds that of almost every OECD country combined.
Understanding and managing medical costs can be daunting for patients. Luckily, there are resources available both to physicians and their patients that can assist with managing this cost of care.
Physicians can assist their patients by recognizing cost concerns and helping to facilitate discussions around them. Furthermore, physicians can inform patients of all available options as well as plan ahead by seeking financial aid if needed.
As well, hospitals and health systems can use various strategies to help their patients improve cost performance, including adopting a total cost of care approach, managing budgets within premium dollar limits, and working with insurers on joint-venture products.
Cost of Insurance
Health insurance costs depend heavily on factors like age, geography, employer and plan. While premiums do not depend solely on gender or preexisting conditions thanks to the Affordable Care Act, they still depend on many other elements.
Your health insurance premium is what you pay each month for medical coverage, with more coverage leading to a higher premium.
A deductible is the annual sum you have to pay before an insurance company begins contributing their share, providing more money for healthcare expenses while still paying your monthly premiums.
Copayment (or “Copay”): When receiving services covered under your insurance plan, you are expected to make an upfront payment called a copayment or copay each time services are rendered – for instance a $20 copayment for routine doctor’s visits does not count towards meeting your deductible amount.
Coinsurance: After meeting your deductible, 80 percent of remaining healthcare costs are covered by your insurer. So for instance a $1,000 MRI might incur 20 percent out of pocket expenses while 80 percent will be covered by their insurer.
Cost of Treatment
Treatment costs depend on your services needs; an ambulance might cost approximately $400 to transport you.
Medication to treat your illness could cost a considerable amount. And surgery procedures could become expensive quickly as well.
Healthcare costs have skyrocketed in recent years, leading many people to either postpone care or go without treatment altogether. A record high share of Americans reported missing or delaying medical or other forms of care due to its costs in 2022.
Cost of Prescriptions
Prescription medicines play an integral part in healthcare, helping manage chronic conditions and treat serious diseases. Unfortunately, increased drug prices can impede patient access to necessary treatments while hindering health care providers’ ability to deliver quality and affordable care services.
Cost of prescriptions depends on several factors, including type and quantity of medication; availability through insurance; and your location for purchase. You may be able to save on certain drugs by shopping around and asking your pharmacist about coupons and discounts available to them.
Prescription costs tend to be higher for older individuals who suffer from common, costly chronic diseases, like diabetes. Adults living with this disease spend an estimated annual total of over $700 on prescriptions alone.