Medical insurance is a huge topic. It was talked about continually during the presidential election in the United States. However, we have not seen any significant changes yet. 2018 promises changes. However, experts warn us not to expect all of the changes to be positive.
What the future holds
Citizens and companies are in a holding pattern. During the recession, many people lost their jobs. Others were kept on but their hours were reduced to allow the companies to take advantage of them to the maximum point before they would be eligible for full benefits.
There was a big swing in people going back to school, and gaining training to make them more valuable. Though the recession seems to be over, experts warn another may come very soon. People are being selective about the positions they take. They refuse to be underpaid and seek positions that will be less likely cut if the recession hits again.
Benefits offered to employees is equally as important to them as their salary. The average citizen had no idea how financially difficult it would be when we suddenly faced double and triple insurance premiums, extremely expensive co-pays and deductibles, and in some cases, the loss of company shared insurance expenses altogether.
Companies are staggering and trying to get to their feet to be in the position to attract good people. If a company has less than 50 employees they usually opt for insurance policies with high deductibles. But, by law, they do not have to offer health coverage. Companies with more than 50 employees must offer “acceptable” insurance and they are expected to pay at least ½ of the premium.
Trends for 2018
- More Increases in health insurance rate. In 2017, insurance premiums went up dramatically in 2017. They will continue to rise. The increases vary from state to state. Some show a rise of 6%-7% and others show increases well into the double digits.
- Companies will have to balance the premium increase with the need of retaining good employees. This will mean a narrowing of the illness coverages.
- There will be a major drop in prescription drugs (more than 80) that are covered in 2018. There will be some that have generic replacements. You should check with your insurance company to see how this affects you, Here is a list of drugs that are being dropped from coverage.
- More use of technology. Expect chronic patients to have more virtual care. Technology will be more available to interact with their doctors without the need of going to the office. Use of devices to monitor their health through virtual means. The goal is to reduce the amount of money it cost to help them maintain.
- Use of technology to allow doctors to work without having to document everything that is said. You surely have noticed that doctors today show up in your examination room with a laptop computer. They are typing away as you describe your concerns. They have to do this because they simply do not have the time to see their patient load and document everything. Soon, doctors will be able to wear a special pair of goggles which will streamline the visit to a data center which will create the documentation. This is a highly efficient method which will save the doctor money and lower costs of visits.
These are just some of the trends showing up just in time for the new year. If this is all a bit confusing to you, this can help you. There is much work to do. It is clear that the rise in health care costs is a critical issue. There must be a ceiling on the rise in costs. American workers need healthcare they can afford. We are all waiting for Congress to make healthcare affordable and health service better. Maybe this will be our lucky year.