Healthcare trends may come and go, but their impacts can be everlasting. New healthcare trends pop up every year, and some of them stick around for up to 5 or 10 years. Although the hope and intent are that all healthcare trends are beneficial to employers and consumers — unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Here are three healthcare trends hurting employers and employees.
Spending is on the rise. It has been since 1970, and it doesn’t seem to be stopping any time soon. As healthcare prices increase, so does spending. This impacts both you and your employees.
Common cost drivers include inflation, network “discounts,” complex contracts and allowable amounts. These increased spending trends may not be slowing down, but there are ways you can combat the outrageous costs your employees are facing. One way is by encouraging price transparency. Why? Price transparency opens the floodgates of publicly available data on price to even out the playing field, hold providers accountable, and drive your employees to high-quality, low-cost healthcare options.
Increased Costs, Poor Quality Healthcare
As we mentioned above, healthcare costs are rising. But shouldn’t that mean the quality of healthcare is increasing as well? Unfortunately, it’s not. Improved quality may be the excuse given to why healthcare costs have increased so much, but the reality is that there’s no direct relation between hospital prices and public health funding. Simply put: high-quality healthcare isn’t a priority for all American health systems.
The U.S. life expectancy at birth ranks number 28 out of the 37 OECD countries. And our healthcare spending? It’s three times the average expenditure on health in other OECD countries. These days, “bigger is better” when adding doctors to networks. Volumes of procedures are rewarded and incentivized in the fee-for-service model, regardless of outcomes. Quality isn’t considered. You can combat this by prioritizing high-quality healthcare providers for your employees.
Another common trend we see that hurts employees is over-utilization. When quality healthcare isn’t the top priority for providers, there’s a higher chance for misdiagnoses and overtreatment. This unnecessary care leads to increased costs for employees and employers. We know this: 20.6% of medical care delivered is unnecessary. Because of this, it’s imperative to focus on what medical tests, procedures and specialists are genuinely needed.
More than that: the effect of over-utilization in healthcare is two-fold.
On the one hand, unnecessary medical services constitute many wasted health care resources and costs. On the other hand, overtreatment is linked to preventable patient harm. By incorporating quality health care practices, employees can avoid overutilization, and employers can cut costs.
Healthcare trends can have highly damaging effects on your employees’ health and your finances. Make an effort to identify where these trends can go wrong and how to inform your employees to fight against them.
For more details on how you can dodge the harmful healthcare trends hurting employers — let’s connect.