High-deductible health plans (HDHPs) shift cost to employees and families, often with distressing health and financial impacts. HDHPs were introduced years ago by the legacy insurance carriers as a way to deflect responsibility for rising healthcare costs away from themselves.
Mary B. skipped appointments and delayed chemotherapy when her cancer returned. Steven L. reduces refills by taking his thyroid medication every other day instead of daily. Others cancel needed care because they can’t afford time off from work and the additional costs of childcare and transportation.
Hospital and health system mergers have become rampant and are typically announced with glowing press releases promising greater access to better and more affordable health care. However, research into the results of consolidation exposes outcomes that run counter to these promises.
Corporate boards have historically relegated employee and workforce concerns to management. In 2020, COVID-19’s dramatic impact on operations and employee health began changing that perspective in significant ways, leading to a more expansive approach to how boards fulfill their responsibilities.
Pharmaceutical companies insist that outrageous prices drive the development of innovative medicines. And industry groups claim that Medicare pricing reform and the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 will send innovation “light years back into the dark ages of biomedical research.” Don’t believe them.
“In the mosaic floor of the opulent atrium of a house excavated at Pompeii is a slogan ironic for being buried under 16 feet of volcanic ash: Salve Lucrum, it reads, “Hail, Profit.” That mosaic would be a fitting decoration today in many of health care’s (corporate) atria.”
The healthcare industry continues to feed its addiction to obscene profits instead of better, more affordable patient care. While Americans are bombarded with relentless direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) pushing dubious drugs to an unwary public, health plan sponsors can provide a much-needed antidote.
Health Affairs has launched a timely analysis of physician, hospital, and other health care provider prices in private-sector markets and their impact on overall spending. We applaud this pursuit of definitive answers but until such truths are revealed, employers won’t have any cost relief any time soon.
As healthcare costs continue to rise, many employer health plan sponsors struggle to cover their employees without breaking the bank. Unfortunately, many keep returning to the same old solutions: a monopoly of legacy insurance carriers with high-priced plans and suboptimal benefits and member support.
From stagnant wages to crushing medical expenses, employee net income has plummeted, preventing American workers from saving adequately for retirement. Pending legislation seeks to alleviate this crisis while a growing number of employers are boosting retirement benefits by reducing health care costs.
From targeting the Affordable Care Act to clamoring for COVID relief funds, annual federal healthcare lobbying expenditures have risen a staggering 70%. Nearly $714 million has been spent influencing legislation to favor the industry and maintain obscene profits. Who’s spending all this money?