Healthcare can be complex. But it can also be very expensive, especially for Americans. There are many factors that contribute to the high cost of healthcare in the country. These include wasteful systems, rising drug costs, medical professional salaries, profit-driven healthcare centers, the type of medical practices, and health-related pricing.
- An array of usage and billing requirements from multiple payers makes it necessary to hire costly administrative help for billing and reimbursements.
- Americans pay almost four times as much for pharmaceutical drugs as citizens of other developed countries.
- Hospitals, doctors, and nurses all charge more in the U.S. than in other countries, with hospital costs increasing much faster than professional salaries.
- Prices for drugs and healthcare are partially controlled by governments in other countries, but in the U.S. prices depend on market forces.
Healthcare in the United States
The majority of Americans rely on private health insurance for coverage. Statistics show that 91.4% of the population has coverage. Compare that to 99% to 100% of the population who have healthcare coverage in other industrialized countries.
The U.S. healthcare system is complicated and most of the costs involved are market driven. High, unregulated prescription drug costs and healthcare providers’ salaries rank higher than in other Western nations while hospital care accounts for 31% of the nation’s healthcare costs. Administrative regulations regarding billing and coding also add to an individual’s cost.
There are many factors that affect the cost of healthcare in the United States. But as salaries for American workers have risen, net pay remains the same due to the increasing cost of health insurance.
1. Multiple Systems
The U.S. healthcare system is highly complex. There are separate rules, funding, enrollment dates, and out-of-pocket costs associated with the various forms of health insurance, whether it’s employer-based, private insurance, or government-provided plans like Medicaid and Medicare.
Consumers must choose among several tiers of coverage from these options. They include high deductible plans, managed care plans, and fee-for-service systems. These plans may or may not include pharmaceutical drug insurance with its tiers of coverage, deductibles, copays, or coinsurance.
For providers, this means dealing with myriad regulations about usage, coding, and billing. And these activities make up the largest share of administrative costs.
Administrative costs are frequently cited as a cause for excess medical spending. According to statistics, healthcare costs in the United States exceed those in other developed nations. And these