The Associated Press reported this past week the unsurprising news that healthcare costs are predicted to rise in the next decade. They reported findings of a federal government report published last week and a companion report in the journal called Health Affairs that right now, about $1 out of every $6 spent in the U.S. goes to healthcare, and the government is expecting that to rise to 1 in 5 in the next decade. By 2016, spending will be near $4 trillion dollars a year. America spends the more per-capita on health care than any other country in the world. In addition, they expect that the cost of health insurance to increase about 6.5% each year and out-of-pocket expenses like co-pays and that deductibles will rise a little over 5% a year from an average now of about $850 annually to about $1400 annually.
I think this is a pretty conservative estimate because I, like many of you with RA I’m sure, am already on the highest end of that prediction for co-pays and deductibles. My health insurance premium shot up in January, as did my co-pays and deductibles. But I just have to be thankful that I have health insurance through my employer at all.
The article says that this growth is caused in part because we spend more on the latest treatments and tests. Well of course we do. How many people are really going to turn down having the newest and best test for cancer or the most promising drug to treat RA, especially if insurance will help cover the cost? But there’s the hidden spending, the portion of health insurance paid by our employers and covered by health insurance. Consumers are not a part of decision making for payment rates set by the government or insurance companies. Most of us never know how much something costs until we get the bill a month or two later. I wish I had better solutions than just griping, but if I did, I guess I’d be President.
Published On: February 26, 2007