The cost of health care in the United States is increasing at an annual rate of 6.1 percent. And, according to the most recent estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it will continue to increase in the next few years. That means that non-physician care and prescription drug spending are likely to become even more expensive.
Physician salaries in the U.S.
If you are considering a career in medicine, there are several factors that you need to know. First, you need to understand what a doctor’s salary is.
In general, the average doctor earns about $381,000 per year. However, some specialties pay up to $600,000 per year. This includes surgeons, cardiologists, otolaryngologists, neurologists and internal medicine practitioners.
Another key factor in determining physician salaries is geographic location. Physicians working in rural communities earn significantly more than those working in urban areas. The average signing bonus for physicians in rural areas is $5,700 more than those in urban areas.
Among those physicians earning the most, the top five pay grades include surgeons, cardiologists, otolaryngologists, plastic surgeons, and neurologists. These are the highest paying specialty areas in the United States.
While it is not surprising that women earn less than men, it is noteworthy that a large gap in pay persists. A study conducted by Doximity, a social networking platform for medical professionals, found that women earn only 20 percent of their male counterparts.
Researchers investigated the gender-related pay gap by analyzing data from a national survey of physician salaries. They found that the absolute adjusted difference in annual income between men and women was $91,669 for practices with 90 percent male doctors. It also noted that the gap would diminish by 20 percent if more women were hired.
In addition, researchers found that a smaller racial-related pay gap remains. White doctors are more likely to be employed in well-paying specialties.
Average annual premiums for single and family coverage in firms with a relatively large share of older workers
There is no doubt that health insurance is a growing part of most household budgets. But with rising premiums comes the rising cost of care. This is particularly true in states with higher than average poverty rates, where access to quality health care can be a challenge. To be fair, the ACA did help expand access to affordable coverage for more than half of Americans under age 65. Yet as with any health plan, the real cost can be a significant hurdle. In many cases, workers opt for lesser coverage because the costs are simply too high.
Fortunately, employer-sponsored insurance plans continue to serve as the backbone of health care in the U.S., with 163 million employed adults covered by employer plans. However, the cost of coverage has risen faster than wages over the past decade. The cost of health insurance has grown by more than $225 per individual and $1,400 for a family of four. As a result, employers are modifying their benefits to keep up with rising costs, such as offering more preventive and primary care services. It’s also worth noting that employer-sponsored plans are the most affordable insurance options for a large swath of the population. Interestingly, the number of uninsured Americans has also declined over the years. Nonetheless, a large portion of the nation remains ill prepared to handle the health insurance burdens that inevitably come with getting older.
Case-mix system/DRGs based costing methodology
The case-mix system is an information-based tool used to evaluate hospital performance and identify features that can significantly affect the medical costs of patients. It provides policymakers with the opportunity to understand the complexity of health care delivery and the impact of initiatives designed to improve efficiency.
Case-mix systems have been adopted in many countries. Generally, they classify patients into groups by clinical characteristics. In many cases, the case-mix classification system is based on diagnosis-related groups (DRGs).
The case-mix system is intended to increase transparency and improve efficiency of health services. It is also a way of reducing the overall cost of providing health care. This system can be applied to hospitals as well as the medical insurance industry. Several studies have evaluated various case-mix measurement systems.
Most successful case-mix classification systems differentiate patient types by acuity. A higher patient acuity means a greater need for resources. This increase in demand causes a higher cost per patient, but it is also associated with a higher reimbursement rate.
DRGs are classified by diagnosis, severity, age, and procedures performed. This information is used to allocate hospital costs. Hospitals are encouraged to utilize this method to improve the efficiency of their services. Some studies have shown that DRGs improve the quality of health care and reduce the cost of healthcare.
Case-mix systems can be incorporated with other variables to improve the accuracy of cost calculations. These measures include a direct cost-measurement method for allocating operating room and radiology costs and a more indirect cost-allocation method for allocating clinical laboratory costs.
Non-physician care is expensive
The average American spends a large amount of money on healthcare every year. The cost of prescription drugs alone can be as much as four times what it is in other developed countries. In addition, the cost of administration and supplies is also increasing. This has led to delays in patients getting access to care.
One of the most important questions is what’s the most efficient way to provide health care to patients in the United States. While the answer is difficult to pinpoint, some studies show that adding a non-physician health care professional to the mix can lead to a 40 to 50 percent increase in total office visits.
A report by the Medical Group Management Association found that primary care practices with more non-physicians earned more than $100,000 more revenue than their counterparts in the same demographic. In addition, they performed better on nine of the 10 quality measures examined.
Non-physician health care professionals can help consumers get the most out of their primary care dollars. They are also less expensive than their doctor counterparts. However, while this is a good thing, their use can also have a negative impact on access to care.
In the end, it’s a question of how to allocate healthcare dollars efficiently and ensure that providers meet the myriad of payer requirements. If there’s one thing to take away from the above study, it’s that the most efficient health care delivery model is a multi-payer, multi-specialty, team-based approach.
Federal Employees Program has CDHC option with an HRA
The Federal Employees Program offers an option that combines health reimbursement accounts (HRAs) with a CDHC. These plans offer a way to lower the cost of employee health care, while promoting self-reliance and healthy lifestyles.
HRAs are flexible spending accounts that can be designed to meet employer’s needs and employee’s budgets. Funds from the accounts can be rolled over each year to pay for qualified medical expenses, and interest earned on these funds is tax-free.
While there are many advantages to HRAs, there are also disadvantages. One of the downsides is the feeling of not being in control of your own money. Another potential drawback is the opportunity to spend more than necessary on unnecessary goods and services.
There are other concerns, as well. For example, how do participants assess their own health care needs, and what happens when they terminate their employment? How do they know the information they receive is reliable? Similarly, how do they understand the plan’s requirements?
A good start would be to provide clear and accurate information about the plan. This will enable participants to make an informed decision. It will also help avert problems down the road.
To make the most of the opportunity offered by CDHC plans, employers need to create an information strategy and develop a communications program to keep their participants up-to-date on the program’s features. They also need to educate employees on the benefits and risks of the program.
Prescription drug spending in the U.S. will grow by 6.1 percent each year
If you’re a consumer with a chronic condition, you’ll be familiar with the high out-of-pocket expenses associated with prescription drugs. The average American pays approximately $700 per year for these medications.
Although the government helps to cover the cost of prescription drugs, many Americans are still forced to pay for these medicines out of pocket. It’s no wonder that the issue of prescription drug prices has become an important debate for policymakers.
According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the United States spends more on pharmaceuticals than nine other high-income countries. In fact, the United States spends more than Germany, Norway, France and Sweden combined.
High spending on prescription medications was one of the main drivers of the growth in health expenditures during the mid-2000s. However, it has since slowed.
While drug costs are a major concern for consumers, many factors contribute to the country’s high per capita spending. For example, many of the top-selling drugs are off patent and have become expensive.
Additionally, the number of new drugs on the market has also increased. Pharmaceutical manufacturers often heavily use rebates to boost demand for their products. This may explain some of the differences between the U.S. and other countries, though it’s difficult to determine exactly what is driving these trends.
Other factors that could influence future spending include the expiration of patents on expensive older medications and the introduction of biosimilars. Some policy changes could also affect the amount of prescriptions that can be prescribed in a given month.
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