Some healthcare facts we all should know

  • In a partisan political climate, leaders on both sides of the aisle have identified an urgent challenge: the price of prescription drugs. The average American pays approximately $1,200 a year for prescriptions – and that figure represents out-of-pocket costs alone.
  • Here are some facts and stats that sometimes get overlooked in the debate.

-The average American spends approximately $1,200 a year on prescription drugs, according to health services company SingleCare.

-Health care costs borne by employees in the form of deductibles and coinsurance rose at a far faster rate than what employer-sponsored insurers paid for care between 2006 and 2016, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

-Last year, US giant Pfizer, the world’s largest drug company by pharmaceutical revenue, made an eye-watering 42% profit margin. Source: BBC

-In 2016, the United States spent nearly twice as much as 10 high-income countries on medical care and performed less well on many population health outcomes.

-The Department of Health and Human Services estimates that Americans spent more than $460 billion on drugs—16.7 percent of total health-care spending—in 2016, the last year for which there are definitive data.

A recent study involving 66 experienced specialty and primary care clinicians found that across 112 encounters, clinicians averaged 11 seconds before interrupting patients’ opening statements.

-There were an estimated 3.7 billion mHealth app downloads globally in 2017, up from 1.7 billion in 2013, according to the most recent data available from Statista.

-There’s little evidence that the majority of mHealth apps are effective. Out of the hundreds of thousands of mHealth apps on the market, the effectiveness of only 22 has been evaluated in the last decade, per a study published in Nature.

-In 2018, digital health firms had a record year, raking in $8.1 billion from investors buying into the industry’s efforts to re-engineer the delivery of medical services, according to the venture capital firm Rock Health. That’s a 42 percent increase over the prior year.

-The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that the cost of caring for individuals with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia comes to about $290 billion a year. The disease is among the top causes of death in the US.

-At least 206 potential treatments for Alzheimer’s have flopped in trials, Datamonitor found.

The growth in U.S. health-care spending is expected to accelerate over the coming eight years as baby boomers age and the prices for medical services grow.  Health care’s share of the economy is projected to climb to 19.4% by 2027 from 17.9% in 2017, assuming no legislative changes to the U.S. health system.

-Since passage of the Affordable Care Act, David Cordani, CEO of Cigna, has taken home more than $140 million of compensation. Yet he feels poor compared to Stephen Hemsley, the CEO of UnitedHealthGroup, who has made almost $300 million.

-Anthem, Cigna, CVS Health, Humana and UnitedHealth Group cumulatively expect to collect almost $787 billion in 2019, compared with $783 billion of projected revenue for Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google.

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