Americans are grappling with rising health care costs. Today, we highlight on the cost factors in health care and let us share with you - the cost story isn’t getting better. Doctors, medical practitioners, hospitals, and payors look for efficient and innovative ways to lower their costs. They aim at creating a better patient experience through innovative telehealth and patient communication solutions.
Value care programs will help to provide incentive for change in the industry but will also need innovative patient communication solutions to keep patients visible and keep them on track for their recovery.
Research indicates that Americans continue to grapple with rising healthcare costs and a sizable group of people with employer healthcare are still spending a ton on their medical bills.
Employer plan premium contributions and out-of-pocket costs, like those for prescription drugs, are eating up an increasing portion of household budgets, according to The Commonwealth Fund (TCF).
According to the estimates mentioned in the report 23.6 million Americans with employer coverage had high premium contributions, high out-of-pocket costs, or both.
High premium contribution defined by TCF is “the total annual amount they pay for their employer plan premiums equals 10% or more of annual household income.”
Americans were considered to be paying high out-of-pocket costs if “the total annual amount they pay out-of-pocket for medical expenditures not covered by their employer plan is 10% or more of annual household income, or 5% or more for families earning less than 200% of the federal poverty level.”
The report discards the notion that employer health plans mean lower health care costs.
Sara Collins, vice president at The Commonwealth Fund mentioned that over the last few years there has been a steady growth in the percentage of people who are insured all year. But their out-of-pocket costs relative to their income and deductibles is high. Infact they consider themselves underinsured. She also said that the biggest growth in that trend is occurring among people who have employer plans.
In U.S. premiums are rising, along with increasing out-of-pocket costs and they are driven by the overall increase in health care costs. Collins noted that people’s incomes aren’t growing much, while rate of growth in health care costs are growing faster than median income.
Collins said that the principal driver of premium growth and the principle driver of out-of-pocket costs is the overall rate of growth in health care costs in the economy. She added that the percent that employees have to contribute to their premiums, while it stayed stable over time when the overall size of the premium goes up. Thus, the dollar amount that the employees have to spend on their premiums also goes up.
According to the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) in 2017, U.S. health care spending grew 3.9 percent, reaching $3.5 trillion or $10,739 per person. This accounts for about 17.9 percent of the nation’s GDP.
In such a scenario telehealth software and patient communication solutions can provide the necessary support and opportunity to Americans for controlling health care costs along with improving health care experience.