The VOICE of Health

There seems to be no end to rising healthcare costs in the US, even as 2018 approaches. Currently, employees with employer-sponsored health insurance are dealing with deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses at a higher rate than wage increases. Time Magazine reports that those with individual health plans</a> are now facing deductibles of at least $1,000. The average deductible for single coverage has increased by 63 percent since 2011, versus salary hikes that only grew by 11 percent. Annual premiums for single coverage, meanwhile, were $6,435 in 2016.

It is predicted that in the coming year the cost of healthcare plans will continue to rise. Here in Florida, the Office of Insurance Regulation projects an average hike of 45 percent on monthly insurance premiums. As of now, around 1 million people in the state received a cost-sharing reduction, while another 1.33 million have a separate subsidy that reduced their monthly rates.

This is still in line with what The Apopka Voice mentioned in 2016 about federal subsidies for 90 percent of Floridians covered in the individual market. With the predicted increase, most people with the subsidy won’t feel the difference. However, the bulk of the rate hikes will affect 7 percent of the state’s population, as well as those who earn too much to qualify for any financial aid to lower coverage costs.

Several reasons contribute to the soaring health care expenses. The main driver is the increase in the price of health services. The past decade has seen technological advances in medical care as well as a healthy variety of services offered.

Another reason is that health expenditures are now concentrated on specific conditions, with diabetes and low back and neck pain having the highest spending. The cost of pharmaceutical drugs is a major factor as well, and it has risen in recent years. It is seen as a regulatory problem, especially since the FDA drug approval process makes pharmaceuticals more expensive than they should be.

Though there are people who delay the needed health care or abandon treatment entirely for fear of the expenses, there may be better steps to offset the increasing costs. First off, to avoid receiving surprise balance bills, it would be helpful to request a cost estimate from the health provider before receiving medical care. Also, some health care providers offer cash discounts for those with high deductible health plans. Consumers may take advantage of these discounts because they can be significantly less than what they have to pay using insurance.

As for health insurance, it’s important to choose a company that has flexible financing options and the capacity to adapt to the patient’s ability to pay. Health IQ suggests finding an insurer that gives value-based policies, where the consumer not only benefits from a financial aspect but the policy takes into account your overall health as well. For instance, a health insurer may lower their premiums if the client makes an effort to improve current health conditions. These seemingly simple details can make a huge difference in the grand scheme of annual healthcare expenditures.

The best solution to counter these health costs is still to prevent the need entirely. With these sky-high expenses, it’s now incredibly vital for people in the US to stay healthy and take active measures to improve their physical well-being.

2 COMMENTS

  1. I have called before procedures to make sure they were covered, and in network, and that the procedure codes were listed and covered, and then find out later when the bill arrives, that we got charged out of network costs!

  2. Here is my suggestion for the rising price of health care in the US, and how to counter it….vote those despicable members of Congress that want to do away with the ACA out of office, and those same members who want to do away with the health care for children, those same members who are giving huge tax cuts to the ultra wealthy, at the expense of the remaining people in this country, who aren’t in the 1% of the top wealth level, and next is to vote against Trump, and send him back to his golf resort for good, and pay special attention to how all these Congress people vote, no matter what party they belong to….!!!

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