Healthcare Cost Trends 2022
Are you tired of hearing about healthcare costs yet? Between the insanity of the pandemic and the endless political debates, it can be a wearing topic.
Yet, we all need healthcare, and it’s not always easy to afford. Something that might help you make good, informed healthcare decisions is a little more knowledge of how much things are going to cost.
With that in mind, let’s explore the healthcare cost trends of 2022.
It might come as a surprise, but there are forces acting to try to lower healthcare costs across the board. For the most part, these forces are driven by healthcare providers trying to find ways to put forward more services for less money.
This won’t always translate to a total savings in healthcare costs, but it’s an important downward force on overall costs, and one clear example makes it easy to see: telemedicine.
Telemedicine was rapidly developed in the early parts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it’s here to stay. In many cases, a telehealth visit can prove a more affordable way to get healthcare. It can be cheaper, faster, and easier, and it’s great to have access to telemedicine for any scenario where such methods prove sufficient.
Naturally, plenty of healthcare issues require in-person diagnoses and treatments, and all of that is still available. But telemedicine is a more affordable and efficient way to handle many healthcare visits, and it is putting downward pressure on costs.
The general challenge in healthcare is that upward cost pressures are overwhelming downward cost pressures. As useful as telemedicine can be, its impacts on overall costs are being drowned out by upward pressures from inflation, rising demand, and convoluted insurance policies.
This is why the overall trend for healthcare costs in 2022 is upward. The expectation is that the average price of any healthcare cost will rise by 6.5% over the course of the year, and a closer inspection of the primary drivers can make it clear why this trend could continue well into next year.
Some of the rising costs boil down to raw inflation. Inflation is hitting every aspect of the economy, and healthcare is not being spared. In general, the dollar is worth less, so the same level of healthcare will cost more than it used to.
On top of that, supply chain issues remain volatile, and they contribute to general inflation and the rising costs of healthcare. To combat supply chain issues, many providers are investing heavily in predictive modeling. This can help them switch suppliers and stay ahead of problems, but these investments are not free.
In the short term, at least some of the costs of such investments are showing up in direct healthcare costs.
Even if supply chains were stable and inflation was normal, costs would still rise on the back of increased demand. Healthcare supply is trying to catch up, but it is still lagging behind very recent increases in demand.
To put it simply, the pandemic increased healthcare demand in a couple of ways. First, as the direct pressures of COVID-19 seem to be receding, many people are moving forward with healthcare procedures that were delayed on account of the pandemic. Playing catchup is putting a lot of pressure on healthcare providers, and they can’t keep up.
At the same time, COVID-19 is still here. It certainly seems that the very worst moments of the pandemic are behind us, but people are still getting sick, and they still need healthcare. This is a problem that literally didn’t exist three years ago. It’s a source of more healthcare demand, and the system is straining to try to keep up.
Ultimately, healthcare providers need more resources, and in order to build up those resources, they are raising prices.
On top of everything else, health insurance in the United States is still one of the most convoluted things in the world, and that’s only growing more true as healthcare systems get more complicated.
To keep a very long story short, health insurance costs are up, and they are rising in tandem with general healthcare costs. That means that on the patient end of things, people are getting hit by cost increases on both sides. It’s tough out there.
Managing Costs With Health Guys
Costs are up, and they’re going to keep rising. Clearly, we all need viable ways to stay ahead of these trends so that we can all afford essential healthcare. The best way to do that is to get proactive and investigate insurance options that help you control costs. Even if insurance in general is complicated, not all policies have to be that way.
Contact Health Guys today. We’ll work with you directly to explore options and find the best and most affordable way to ensure that you can get the care you need when you need it.