Rising healthcare costs pose a challenge to patients because it limits access to health services. This problem is associated with people’s quest to live longer and healthier lives because a combination of high demand for health services with an inadequate supply of resources has created an imbalance in the provision of health services. Therefore, patients have been forced to pay more insurance premiums to access health services. Based on these concerns, there is a need to manage the rising cost of healthcare services.
Amadeo (2018) says that healthcare costs and expenditures are increasing faster than the average economic growth rate and inflation in the U.S. For example, in 2016, the total healthcare expenditure in the country was $3.3 trillion, while in 1960, it was $27.2 billion (Amadeo, 2018). A comparison of the 1960 and 2016 statistics suggests that the annual healthcare cost per person in 2016 was $10,348, while in 1960, it was only $146 (Amadeo, 2018). These statistics reveal that healthcare costs have increased exponentially in the past five decades. The gap between rising costs and incomes is expected to grow further, as stated by Teel (2018), who suggests that the aggregate healthcare spending in the U.S. will increase at an average of 5.8% between 2015 and 2025.
The above statistics show that the steep rise in medical costs is worrisome and stakeholders need to avert a crisis that could emerge if such costs make healthcare out of reach for many people. Stakeholders that should be involved in addressing this issue include insurance companies, patients, healthcare service providers, and the government. The government is an important stakeholder because it has the power to formulate laws that affect health costs. Comparatively, patients are an important stakeholder group because they are the primary recipients of healthcare services. Lastly, insurance companies and healthcare service providers form another important stakeholder group because patients pay and seek health services through them.
A Vision for Addressing Rising Healthcare Costs
Addressing the growing problem of rising healthcare costs requires a systemic review of the existing financial model of payment. Here, stakeholders need to eliminate waste and increase efficiencies in the provision of health services. The goal would be to reduce operating costs for healthcare service providers. This vision can be actualized by promoting efficiencies in the documentation and improving coordination between care delivery and patient-centered activities. Relative to this strategy, Dyrda (2016) says that 15 hospitals in the U.S. have reported millions of dollars in cost savings by eliminating waste and improving operational efficiencies.
Amadeo, K. (2018). The rising cost of health care by year and its causes. Web.
Dyrda, L. (2016). How 15 hospitals eliminated waste, gained efficiency, and saved millions. Web.
Teel, P. (2018). Five top challenges affecting healthcare leaders in the future. Web.