Healthcare costs can be quite expensive. For some people, a serious or prolonged illness could be the impetus for financial devastation. Even a trip to the emergency room for a minor injury could result in major expenses. Fortunately, health insurance coverage can help defray the costs associated with these potential events. Over the years, however, health insurance costs have changed significantly.
How Have Health Insurance Costs Changed?
There is one aspect of the healthcare field that most observers and industry professionals can agree upon. All concerned parties concur that healthcare costs have increased dramatically over the last several decades. Research compiled by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, concluded that this increase has been nothing short of astronomical.
CMS data collectors declared that 1960 total healthcare expenditures equaled slightly more than $27 billion, which was five percent of the United States Gross Domestic Product, or GDP. In 2017, healthcare costs clocked in at a weighty $3.5 trillion, which is nearly 18 percent of the GDP.
Causes For Rising Healthcare Costs
Such a quantum leap in cost leaves many wondering why and how expenses have ballooned to such a great extent. Industry experts attribute these remarkable changes to several different factors such as:
An Increase In The Aging Population
Advancements in medicine and an increased awareness and participation in longevity-inducing practices like improved dietary consumption, exercise, obtaining adequate rest and stress alleviation has increased the average lifespan over time. Unfortunately, however, as people age, their reliance on healthcare bears greater significance.
A Spike In The Prevalence Of Chronic Ailments
When people live longer, their chances of being afflicted with a chronic or serious illness increases. Additionally, the nation has experienced an increased number of obese persons. Obesity is often born out of poor lifestyle habits such as the consumption of a non-nutritious diet and leading a sedentary, exercise-free existence. Therefore, many persons of younger ages, even children in some cases, become stricken with long-standing illnesses like diabetes, high blood pressure, autoimmune disorders and a plethora of physical problems needing continual care.
Increased Out Of Pocket Costs
Those fortunate enough to possess the funds necessary to enroll in a private insurance plan or obtain said coverage through their jobs are experiencing an increase in out of pocket costs. The strain on the system has rendered certain services economically unfeasible for many providers to cover.
The monthly or yearly costs individuals are forced to spend for healthcare coverage has gradually increased. Industry professionals also attribute this rise in cost to the demands being placed on the system.
Government-sponsored healthcare programs such as Medicare and Medicaid provide coverage to many individuals. That said, the growing and aging population means that more persons are enrolling in these programs. Funding these programs is quite costly.
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