It is no secret that U.S. health care is far costlier than that of every other developed nation. As a matter of fact, a study by the International Federation of Health Plans shows that people in the U.S. spend $2.6 trillion on health care alone, and the amount is equivalent to 17.9 percent of the country’s GDP (gross domestic product).
Part of the rising cost of health care and health insurance here has been attributed to unnecessary health care. Take mammograms, for instance. Excessive exposure to radiation can actually cause cancer. So, how often is it necessary or even safe? It’s possible that this and other procedures are done more often than needed, and are putting people’s health at risk.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has looked at statistics and come up with recommendations about what types of health care services correspond to better health outcomes. Based on their findings, certain kinds of preventive health care are covered without having to meet a plan’s deductible, co-insurance or co-pay requirements. At least, that’s true when the services are provided by in-network doctors and billed as preventive instead of diagnostic.
Could the increasing purchase of insurance plans that can be combined with a Health Savings Account help to reduce unnecessary health care procedures? Since HSA owners can keep whatever they save in their HSA, unlike the balances in flexible spending accounts at the end of the year, HSA owners appear to be more cost-conscious when it comes to health care spending.
This trend, of course, reduces revenue for companies that sell expensive equipment, like MRIs, as well as the profits of those facilities that sell these specialized procedures. Many HSA owners are now “doing the math” when it concerns their health care. After all, with the increasing reliance on high-deductible health insurance, it is their own money they are spending until they pay for enough health care to meet the plan’s deductible.
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