Healthcare consistently ranks as one of the biggest concerns for American families.  Quality of care and affordability are contributing factors amongst myriad issues, especially as costs rise across the board.  While changes in federal and state laws and tax incentives have made coverage more accessible, the combination of premiums, deductibles, co-pays, and out-of-pocket expenses is a burden for too many.  The added costs of inflation have put additional stress on most household budgets.

How big is the issue?  The numbers are stark.

Consider this, from a recently published research study:

  • About half of U.S. adults say it’s difficult to afford healthcare costs and one in four say they or a family member in their household had problems paying for healthcare in the past 12 months
  • The cost of healthcare can lead some to put off needed care
  • The cost of prescription drugs prevents some people from filling prescriptions
  • Those who are covered by health insurance are not immune to the burden of healthcare costs
  • 41% of adults report having debt due to medical or dental bills including debts owed to credit cards, collections agencies, family and friends, banks, and other lenders to pay for their healthcare costs
  • About three-fourths of adults are either “very” or “somewhat worried” about being able to afford unexpected medical bills (74%) or the cost of healthcare services (73%) for themselves and their families

Financial stress in the healthcare system is not only limited to patients, as health care providers and hospitals are facing a precarious scenario:

  • From January 2022 to June 2023, median cash reserves for hospitals and healthcare systems declined by 28%
  • Maintenance expenses jumped 90% (due to deferred facility needs during COVID)
  • Utility expenses rose 35%
  • Professional fee expenses went up 33%
  • Drug expenses rose 30%
  • Total labor expenses up 24%

I could keep going on factors that affect our healthcare system, so let’s consider this before moving on in the post… National Health Expenditures (NHE) projections generated by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services; the NHE is published annually and is often referred to as the “official” estimates of U.S. health spending and health insurance enrollment.  The report projects that average annual growth in NHE (5.4%) will outpace the average annual growth of GDP (4.6%) between 2022 and 2031, resulting in total health spending share of GDP rising from 18.3% in 2021 to 19.6% in 2031.

This is real money, folks!  Especially when considering the growing cost of interest on our national debt (I digress).

Is there a solution?  While not a silver bullet, engaging in Proactive Healthcare may help people live healthier lives.  In short, proactive healthcare focuses on managing your health and reducing the risk of new diseases through healthy lifestyle changes.  Our system currently treats sickness instead of preventing it in the first place.  Proactive healthcare works best when wrapped around a core of physical and mental wellness.

I’ve included some insight from a Chicago Booth report (see below) on how proactive healthcare can save real money in healthcare, notably in Medicare expenses.  This could be the start of a new approach towards American wellness- An Apple a Day!  What do you think?  Let me know by reaching out to me here!

~ Brian Kasal- The Leadership Matrix

Click here- How Proactive Healthcare Can Save on Costs

Added bonus- American Medical Association report- Trends in health care spending

P.S.- Did you see my last Leadership Matrix post? The (Missing) Data Influencing Decisions

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