A recent blog published on my David P. Lind Benchmark website broached the major components of healthcare waste in the U.S. and how it is estimated to impact Iowa employer health insurance premiums that we all pay. A quick summary from that blog provided the following:
According to the 2019 Iowa Employer Benefits Study©, annual premiums paid by Iowa employers and their employees in 2019 are $7,017 for single coverage and $19,335 for family coverage. Of this amount, an estimated 34 percent may be considered wasted, unnecessary money spent with little to no value. That means in 2019, Iowans are paying an estimated wasted amount of $2,400 for those with single coverage and $6,600 for family coverage – EACH YEAR!
Healthcare waste is endemic of the inefficiencies and the misguided incentives laden within our healthcare ‘system.’ Of course, the ‘waste’ that each of us pay is broadly known as ‘revenue’ and ‘income’ to others. It will be difficult for the healthcare infrastructure to change its way when there is about $1 trillion annually found at the feeding trough of entitlement.
After writing this particular blog, a new survey was released by Kaiser Family Foundation regarding the U.S. Public’s perspective on prescription drug costs. The infographic found within this study is of great interest to me, particularly as it relates to what the public sees as the top contributors to high healthcare costs. It is no surprise that drug companies are considered to be the largest reason why people’s healthcare costs have risen (78 percent), yet, fraud and waste is tied in second place (along with hospitals charging too much) at 71 percent – narrowly nudging out insurance companies profiteering (70 percent).
For our healthcare system to evolve into what the public hopes and demands, engaged discussion must ensue about the waste that is baked into our system. Without this discussion (and outrage), little will change. Removing the public blindfold to begin making these demands is imperative for change to occur.
I was very happy this recent study revealed that the public is now beginning to acknowledge the inherent problems of a poorly-managed healthcare infrastructure that requires a major reboot to keep costs more affordable and tied with better care outcomes.
Although difficult and problematic, reducing and eliminating healthcare waste is the low hanging fruit that we must immediately address.
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