Interactive Graphic: The Cost of Health Care

August 1, 2014

It is easy to sit back and look at our medical bills and think “Wow! Healthcare is expensive!” But just what is the true cost of healthcare?

The Institute of Medicine created an interactive graphic that puts just how much healthcare costs us into context and it is truly eye opening. Click the graphic below to check it out.

Not only the rise of healthcare costs, but the waste that is associated with it is what is really shocking. As you move through the graphic, you can see that in 2009, over $2.5 trillion was spent on healthcare and $765 billion of that was waste including fraud, avoidable errors and unnecessary services. That means that over $750 billion could have been saved! And the really unfortunate part is that a lot of that was most likely passed on to the consumer.

Did you know that you can play in trying to help save those billions of dollars? Seems daunting right? Actually, small changes you make as a consumer-patient can really add up. Start asking questions when visiting you doctor about test that are ordered such as “Is this a necessary test?” or “How much does this cost?” and if you aren’t satisfied with the answer, then it is your right to search for another doctor.

Research area hospitals and find out how their safety ratings which can help with readmissions or avoidable errors. This is the “consumer” side of being a consumer-patient. While there isn’t nearly enough transparency in healthcare, using the available resources is a good place to start exercising your consumerism. Then, demand for more transparency! The more informed you are, the better decisions you can make which will help you reward those doctors and hospitals that are working to provide you with low-cost, high quality, or high-value, care. As more and more consumers utilize high-value providers, it will create a shift towards those doctors and hospitals, thus lowering the cost. A perfect waterfall effect and one that starts with you!

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