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Why Does Healthcare Cost So Much?

 
 Healthcare Spending Source: National Health Expenditure Data, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

Healthcare spending in the United States is $3 trillion a year, straining the budgets of families, businesses and taxpayers alike.

The price of medical care is the single biggest factor behind healthcare costs. These expenditures reflect the cost of caring for those with chronic or long-term medical conditions, an aging population and the increased cost of new medicines, procedures and technologies.

The new health reform law also has expanded access to insurance to millions of Americans. We’ve transitioned to a healthcare system in which everyone can obtain health insurance regardless of age or health status, and many individuals who are newly insured need ongoing medical attention.

Though medical costs are the main reason for the persistent growth in healthcare spending, too much of this money is not well spent. In fact, studies indicate that 30 cents of every healthcare dollar goes to care that is ineffective or redundant.

We can all play a part in helping to make America healthier--and curb healthcare costs. Our healthcare system itself must focus more on quality care for patients that helps them get healthy faster and stay healthy longer.

Prescription drugs play a critical role in helping to prevent, manage and cure disease. A key factor pushing up healthcare costs is the price of new specialty drugs.

Chronic diseases and conditions including heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, obesity and arthritis are among the most common, costly–and preventable– of all health problems.

Find out what Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies are doing to improve healthcare quality and rein in costs.

Choose to be your own health advocate and take control of your health today. There are many steps you and your family can take to improve your own health, such as quitting smoking, losing weight, adhering and complying with your medication regimen as prescribed by your doctor, seeking appropriate preventive and follow-up care, and becoming an informed consumer when purchasing the care you need. All of these choices can lead to a healthier you, help to lower your healthcare costs and reduce overall healthcare spending.

STEPS YOU CAN TAKE


Choose to be your own health advocate and take control of your health today. There are many steps you and your family can take to improve your own health, such as quitting smoking, losing weight and making good choices about how you purchase medical care. All of these choices can lead to a healthier you, help to lower your healthcare costs and reduce overall healthcare spending.

WHAT'S THE EMERGENCY?


Recognizing which health conditions aren't true emergencies and are best treated by going to a local urgent care facility rather than the emergency room can help you save your time and money, and reduce overall healthcare costs.

Learn more about urgent care and when you should use it and which medical conditions actually require a trip to the ER.