Where does your healthcare dollar go?
Healthcare spending exceeds $2.6 trillion annually and strains America’s families and businesses, as well as federal, state and local governments that finance programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. The price of medical care, wasteful practices and payment systems, an aging society and personal behaviors are among the factors contributing to rising healthcare costs.
The facts behind this healthcare spending spiral are clear:
- 70 percent of today’s healthcare dollar is spent on the treatment of chronic illnesses – many of which are preventable.
- The U.S. spends approximately $765 billion a year on wasteful healthcare, such as unnecessary medical tests and procedures.
- Measurable medical errors that harmed patients cost $17.1 billion (in 2008).
- The U.S. spends anywhere from $100 – $200 billion each year to treat uninsured individuals.
- Tobacco use in the U.S. drives up medical spending by $96 billion every year.
- Medical spending on conditions associated with obesity nearly doubled from 1998 to 2008.
- Technological advances enable many life-enhancing and lifesaving benefits, but unfortunately, the cost of technology is incredibly high and it is often over-utilized. About 6 out of 10 large hospitals don’t educate medical students on the cost of procedures.
- Prescription medications can prevent and treat illness and improve quality of life, but today the cost of developing a new drug is higher than ever—about $1.3 billion.
Despite all this spending, patients often don’t get the quality care they deserve. And our nation isn’t as healthy as it should be.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies are helping to improve quality and keep costs down by working with medical professionals to find new ways of providing higher-quality care, better managing the care of patients with chronic conditions, and encouraging everyone to make healthier choices to prevent disease.
Every one of us has the power to help reduce healthcare costs. You and your family can take many steps to improve your own health and save on health and medical expenses. From quitting smoking to losing weight and making good choices about how you purchase medical care, you can lower your own costs and help reduce overall healthcare spending.
Start by getting informed on the healthcare cost drivers in America. Visit our interactive microsite “Why Does Healthcare Cost So Much?” to find out what’s driving this complex and costly problem. Find out where your healthcare dollar goes and download and share pdf guides and infographics about how improving the quality of healthcare can actually lower costs. You can explore links to see what Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies are doing in your local community to improve access to affordable, quality healthcare.
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