We’re entering a new era of employee-focused benefits, where employees will have more power to consider their unique situation and look across a broad range of options to choose what works best for them. That means employers need to offer a broad and flexible benefits package and supply the tools and education to help employees maneuver through an increasingly complex healthcare landscape. So, what will the future of healthcare look like?
Prediction #1: Healthcare Costs Will Continue to Rise
U.S. healthcare costs were $3.5 trillion in 2017 or $10,739 per person. As a share of the nation's Gross Domestic Product, health spending accounted for 17.9 percent. By contrast, in 1960 healthcare costs were $27.2 billion, a mere 5 percent of GDP. That translates to annual healthcare costs of $10,348 per person in 2016 versus $146 per person in 1960. This is largely due to a combination of company-sponsored private health insurance and government created programs like Medicare and Medicaid that have increased utilization of healthcare services and given providers the ability to raise prices.
A Princeton University study found Americans use the same amount of healthcare as residents of other nations, but pay more for them. In addition, incidences of chronic illnesses, such as diabetes and heart disease, have increased, accounting for 85 percent of healthcare costs today. Finally, Medicare spending on patients in the last year of life is now six times greater than average spending, accounting for one-quarter of the Medicare budget. To meet these challenges, employers will continue to buy based on discounts and maintain and enhance benefits as the economy continues to do well.
Prediction #2: People Will Continue to be Dissatisfied with Healthcare
The vast majority of Americans are positive about the quality of the healthcare they receive, with three-quarters rating it as "excellent" or "good" according to a November 2017 Gallup survey. However, nearly the same number say the healthcare system is "in a state of crisis" or "has major problems.” Lack of transparency will continue to drive customer dissatisfaction and confusion both in terms of care coordination and bill payment. Employee engagement will become increasingly important in terms of driving health and wellness so that employees can make wise choices.
Prediction #3: Change is Slow to Come to Healthcare
In the healthcare system, we lack consistent and common analysis tools that could help produce a single, game-changing technology. Simply put, healthcare is not yet sufficiently standardized to enable rapid change. Even the most basic interaction of a patient visiting a doctor involves dozens of disconnected sub-systems. For the healthcare system to change, payers, providers, and patients can’t be examined in isolation. Instead, we must look at the big picture. The actual way we deliver healthcare will have to change, such as an increase in telehealth and outpatient clinics.
HPS is Working to Make a Better Future for Healthcare
The solutions offered by HPS come from understanding the trends of healthcare and addressing the challenges people face. That’s why, year over year, HPS clients experience a lower than market healthcare cost trend.
To find out more, visit https://www.hps.md/why-hps.