Health care costs have been rising for years. Expenditures in the United States on health care surpassed $2 trillion in 2006, almost three times the $714 billion spent in 1990, and over eight times the $253 billion spent in 1980. Stemming this growth has become a major policy priority, as employers and consumers increasingly struggle to keep up with health care costs.
Below are some statistics about the high price of basic health care:
1. In 2006, U.S. health care spending was about $7,026 per resident and accounted for 16% of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Total health care expenditures grew at an annual rate of 6.7 percent in 2006, outpacing inflation and the growth in national income. In almost every employer survey, the rising cost of providing health care to employees is the top concern. Facing pressure to increase or just maintain profit margins, employers feel increasingly stressed to provide quality employee health care at an affordable cost.
Premiums for employer-based health insurance rose by 6.1 percent in 2007. The annual premium for an employer health plan covering a family of four averaged nearly $12,100. The annual
premium for single coverage averaged over $4,400.
2. Health insurance expenses are the fastest growing cost component for employers. Unless something changes dramatically, health insurance costs will overtake profits by 2008.
3. In 2005, employer health insurance premiums increased by 9.2% – nearly three times the rate of inflation.
4. Since 2000, employment-based health insurance premiums have increased 100 percent, compared to cumulative inflation of 24 percent and cumulative wage growth of 21 percent during the same period.
5. Workers are now paying $1,400 more in premiums annually for family coverage than they did in 2000.
6. In a Wall Street Journal-NBC Survey almost 50 percent of the American public cite the cost of health care as the number one economic concern.
7. A new survey shows that 27 percent of respondents said medical debt led to severe housing problems, including the inability to make rent or mortgage payments and the development of bad credit ratings.
8. The average employee contribution to company-provided health insurance has increased more than 143% since 2000. Average out-of-pocket costs for deductibles, co-payments for medications, and co-insurance for physician and hospital visits rose 115% during the same period.
There are a number of initiatives that aim to improve the efficiency and cost of the health care system. Disease management strives to improve and streamline the treatment regimen for many chronic health conditions, along with greater use of technology, such as electronic medical records. Yet, what has shown to have the greatest effect on overhead and long-term health care costs is making quality health care coverage accessible and affordable to all people. It is that belief that drives Concentra’s mission: improving America’s health, one patient at a time.