Healthcare, a New Car, or Paying for College

Based on the latest Milliman Medical Index data, that average costs for an American family to receive healthcare in an employee sponsored PPO plan is $20,728. In general, that’s more than 20% of the households in the US make per year. And, I believe you can buy a decent car and still attend many colleges for less than that.

Can someone say “problem”?

While companies pick up the majority of it, the average employee is paying $8,584 of that for their family. That’s a strong reinforcement for the NPR article earlier this week about how it’s hard even for the insured to afford their healthcare…much less the uninsured.

The one thing that I think many of us miss is that there are ways to fix this beyond simply waiting for the Holy Grail of health reform to transform us overnight. (I’ll let you in on a secret…even if it’s not overturned, it’s not going to fix everything.) Let’s just look at some articles about our healthcare system:

  1. This story talks about the importance of communications in healthcare.
  2. This story talks about non-adherence even with cancer patients and high cost medications.
  3. This story talks about pharmacy waste.
  4. This story is about the scary amount of wrong diagnoses.
  5. And, here’s one about how infrequently evidence-based medicine is followed.

So, if you combine the systemic issues with the human behavior issues, it seems like a low likelihood of getting the best care. That’s why we all need some “big brother” who’s watching out for us. Someone monitoring our claims. Someone providing counsel to us to help us make informed decisions. Even the physicians in the ACO or PCMH concepts need that.

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