Can we control rising healthcare costs?

  • Drug companies indicate that price increases are coming in 2019 adding more fuel to the fire for “Medicare for all”.
  • The average American is heavier than at the start of the 21st Century — and very close to being obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control data on body metrics.
  • Nearly three in 10 Americans are delaying healthcare treatments because of their cost, a Gallup survey said Monday.
  • More than one-third of women in the U.S. report skipping needed medical care because of costs, a far higher rate than the other countries included in the study.
  • After climbing modestly between 2011 and 2016, average premiums for employer health plans rose sharply in 2017.

The drug industry continues to demonstrate that investors and Wall Street are more important than patients with an announcement that nearly 30 companies are raising prices on prescription drugs. This clearly shows that it’s business as usual and is sure to make healthcare costs a hotbed topic during the next election.

In addition, health insurance premium and deductible costs amounted to nearly 12 percent of median income in 2017. Added together, the total cost of premiums to workers and potential spending on deductibles for both single and family policies climbed to $7,240 a year in 2017. Premiums for employer health plans rose sharply in nearly every state in 2017. After climbing modestly between 2011 and 2016, overall premiums for employer health plans (employer and employee share) grew more sharply in 2017, by 4.4 percent for single plans and 5.5 percent for family plans.

As employer premiums have risen, so have workers’ contributions. Between 2016 and 2017, employee premium contributions rose by 6.8 percent to $1,415 for single-person plans and by 5.3 percent to $5,218 for family plans. This all but wipes out any raises employees may get for the coming year.

So what’ going on here and what does this mean?

1ne: The drug industry’s first customer is Wall Street.

2wo: Millennials are going to continue to evaluate employers based on their health plans.

3hree: I expect that in 2019 some employers are going to band together and form their own health insurance companies to lower costs.

4our: There is going to be a lot more pressure on Congress to do something about our nation’s rising healthcare costs.

5ive: Right now for the drug industry it’s about “get as much as you can while you can”.

Eventually we, the American public, are going to have to decide if healthcare in this country is a “right” or “privilege”. We can no longer take for granted that our insurance will cover health emergencies and we are going to hear a lot more horror stories as the media zeroes in rising health care costs.