The price of healthcare continues to rise, causing a large financial burden for thousands of Americans across the country.
Health spending per person in the U.S. was around $11,945 in 2020…the highest in the world. Meanwhile, in comparable countries, the costs averaged around $5,736, about half of what U.S. residents pay.
Why do healthcare costs continue to rise?
Some of the reasons for rising healthcare costs are unpreventable. As the population rises, more people are in need of healthcare which pushes prices higher. Much of the U.S. population is aging, which also leads to higher rates.
On the other hand, some factors can be prevented. These include the increase in preventable diseases, frequency of healthcare services, and the types of services needed.
Healthcare for Small Business
The challenges of rising healthcare affect everyone, especially those who own small businesses. With costs rising, many employers are struggling to afford healthcare for their employees. For businesses with just one full-time employee, it’s near impossible.
The government Affordable Care Act’s Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Marketplace allows small employers to purchase healthcare coverage, but only employers with 2-50 full-time employees are eligible. The other catch: the business must have a physical work site in the state the plan is purchased. With more businesses moving remote, this can be a challenge.
For those that it is a good fit, there are various insurance plans to choose from.
Through the Affordable Care Act, small employers with less than 25 full-time employees who pay average wages of $56,000 or less may be eligible for tax credits for their group insurance plans which can help lower health insurance costs.
Preventing rising healthcare costs
The American lifestyle contributes greatly to the increase in preventable diseases and need for prescription drugs.
The CDC’s recently-published report noted that 25% of Americans are considered inactive. Much of this is due to daily life demands which require less physical activity, like sitting at school and work and because of hobbies like watching tv and using computers/tablets.
In fact, America is considered the second-laziest country averaging just 4,774 steps per day, just below Indonesia at 3,513 steps.
Inactive lifestyles cause chronic disease. Chronic disease causes more doctor visits. More doctor visits push premiums higher.
A healthier future
In order to have a healthier future, Americans must work to change their habits. This means moving more, exercising more, and eating better.
Employers can do their part by encouraging employees to take a few breaks during the work day (good for mental health), encouraging a walk around the office during their lunch break, and to build breathing and stretching exercises into staff meetings.
Together these factors will allow individuals to be healthier longer and to recover quicker when they do become ill. Staying healthy will also prevent the need for prescription drugs, which costs Americans on average $1300 per year.
Cutting consumer healthcare costs
Striving for better health is the best way to cut costs; however, changing the types of healthcare can also lower the costs. For example, outpatient programs cost less than inpatient programs.
In addition, consumers can use programs like AblePay, which provides savings and flexible payment terms on out-of-pocket medical expenses. Programs like AblePay allow consumers to save hundreds of dollars per year.
In addition, shopping for supplemental insurance (those like Aflac) may be helpful. These companies help to cover additional expenses that major medical insurance may not cover.
If this is not enough, consumers may request a payment plan from their provider which allows smaller and more affordable payment amounts.
Together, employees and employers can do their part to challenge the ever-rising healthcare costs.