Why Is Healthcare So Expensive in the U.S.?

Have you ever taken a visit to the hospital and been shocked by your healthcare bill? This is something that many Americans are experiencing in the past years. It seems that healthcare costs never stop increasing, which is something that is particularly concerning as we are trying to navigate a global pandemic. There are many reasons why healthcare in the United States is so expensive.

Hidden Hospital Costs

While there are parts of your hospital visit that you can anticipate the cost of, there are certain hidden hospital costs that you have no idea are coming. When you visit a hospital, according to Clear Health Costs, you’ll likely get charged a facility fee for your use of their space, a charge that can be upwards of hundreds of dollars. You also might get double-billed if a doctor is performing multiple procedures on you in the same sitting, as they could ring it up as two different procedural events. One of the more predictable hospital costs is getting overcharged. 

Certain healthcare providers may bill you at an even higher rate than a normal hospital would charge. Taking a minute to research the average costs of your treatment should be able to help you to avoid being overcharged. For this reason, it is difficult to predict or anticipate how much a hospital visit will cost. Unfortunately, these hidden costs dissuade many people from visiting the hospital in the first place.

Rising Drug Costs

Another reason for expensive American healthcare is that the rates of medicated drug costs are rising continually. Within the last decade, prescription drugs have increased at a concerning rate. For example, according to Xevant, there was an 8.1 percent increase in drug costs from 2019 to 2020. As the demand for prescription drugs has increased with the progression of modern medicine, there has been a shortage of said drugs that has impacted their cost significantly.

Lack of Government Control

In the United States, drug and healthcare prices depend on the market rather than the determinants of the government. There are many countries where the government has more control over healthcare prices, but that doesn’t work the same way here. In America, according to The Heritage Foundation, the government doesn’t have much control over healthcare prices. Since the government can’t help keep healthcare prices lower, prices are always rising for various reasons. For example, healthcare facilities have extreme administrative costs as they are dealing with different material, insurance, and drug providers, which in turn increases patient costs since hospitals still need to make a significant profit.

Especially with the current threats of COVID-19, it is important to understand why your healthcare is so expensive. This may encourage you to take more care of your body and avoid needing healthcare. On the other hand, it may encourage you to be more involved politically so that someday, the government will be able to provide more affordable healthcare. But most of all, it is good to have an understanding of where your money goes when you visit the hospital.

Read this next: Trends Healthcare Consumers Should Expect in the Future

Simon Greenberg

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