Every year, more and more Americans leave the country in pursuit of more affordable—and oftentimes higher-quality—health care. Even a decade ago, this was because many Americans either couldn’t afford health insurance, or because they simply weren’t eligible for it. Now, with President Obama’s Affordable Care Act just mere months from implementation, Americans are still leaving, even though a) everyone is eligible (by law), and b) many individuals are paying outstanding health insurance fees. The question is: Why?
The answer is actually simple: Even though the average American will be forced to pay higher than normal insurance premiums, many would rather go abroad and forego using their insurance, because for many procedures, the cost will still be less expensive in the long run than if they were to receive the same attention here in the states. (Affordable travel insurance here on our website.)
Prices for everything from prescription medications to hip replacement surgery are between four and 26 times more expensive in America than in any other developed country. While many may argue that it’s because “Our healthcare is better,” the truth of the matter is that the quality of our care is no better than that of many other countries of our stature. (Affordable international insurance here on our website.)
The high prices result, instead, from hospitals, insurers, marketers and researchers looking to maximize revenue. Just as there are far cheaper medications available to us, there are several cheaper—and far less invasive—procedures, tests and treatments out there. However, everyone working within and for the health care industry defaults to the more expensive options—often without any proof to back up claims of their being better—because of the economic incentives.
These high prices account for the $2.7 trillion medical bill accrued by the U.S. each year. To learn more about the high price of medical care in America, check out this article from the NY Times.
Wiley Long is President of HSA for America, and a passionate advocate for consumer-based solutions that will improve price transparency and lower health insurance and medical costs for people purchasing individual and family health insurance plans.