Burden of High Medical Bills: Crisis in US Health Care

  • Posted by Salsberg
  • 03 October 2013
  • News

Studies show that the US spends about 20 per cent of its GDP on health care. Medical costs in the US are touching an all time high; though America has the best health care in the world, the medical costs are almost two or three times higher than any other country. Consumers are puzzled by rising medical bills that they cannot understand and to add to their troubles, insurance premiums are getting higher too. As a part of its health reforms toward greater consumer responsibility, the federal government is giving consumers more information about hospital charges and also urging them to look around for cost effective health care.

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Typically, hospital bills are the largest of all medical bills; however, lab bills, outpatient facility bills and charges for services such as physical therapy are also getting more expensive and more complex. Figuring out medical bills has become as complicated as doing your taxes, that many consumers are hiring experts to help decipher them. A common ploy that hospitals use is to charge multiple times for the same service or conceal low cost items behind hi-tech names. To prevent this, consumers should request a detailed statement from their hospital before paying their bills, so they know what they are paying for.

According to recent estimates, hospital care accounts for nearly one third of the country’s annual health expenditure. What is the reason for these unexpectedly high medical costs? Medical costs for hospital care and doctor visits are mainly responsible for rising medical bills. Hospitals have high cost procedures that improve the quality of health care but Medicare and Medicaid are refusing to pay the costs; private companies are not paying any more than what is in their contract and this is pushing up costs for consumers. The increasing cost of goods and services used for patient care is also a driving factor for rising medical bills. Fortunately, consumers can get affordable health insurance to get the coverage they need, so they can protect themselves from crushing medical costs. There are plenty of health insurance options, so consumers can research before making an informed buying decision.

Visitors to the US need to estimate the required insurance coverage depending on their age, duration of stay and location.

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