Perhaps the biggest news to hit this summer is the decline in medical inflation.
Make no mistake, this is very, very important.
Important – as in huge decreases in the federal deficit.
Important – as in low-single-digit health premium increases.
Important – as in placing huge pressure on health care systems, hospitals, and other providers – because low premiums for employers equals less income for providers.
Here’s what the data shows.
Today, CBO projects the 2019 Medicare spend will be $95 billion less than it projected four years ago. That’s equivalent to a fifth of the military budget. Or the entire budget for welfare, Amtrak, and unemployment.
Over a decade, the reduction is about $700 billion. According to a piece in the NYTimes (link above);
much of the recent reductions come from changes in behavior among doctors, nurses, hospitals and patients. Medicare beneficiaries are using fewer high-cost health care services than in the past — taking fewer brand-name drugs, for example, or spending less time in the hospital. The C.B.O.’s economists call these changes “technical changes,” and they dominate the downward revisions since 2010…[CBO analysts say] the economy is playing a negligible role in what’s happening in Medicare, meaning that they’re more confident that the practice of medicine really is changing. (emphasis added)
That’s all good, right? The fiscal cliff is farther away, and not nearly so steep and scary as it was even a couple years ago.
Not so fast. One person’s savings is another one’s income. In this case, that “other one” is the healthy care delivery system – doctors, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, device companies, health systems.
Those stakeholders are adapting as fast as they can, and making great strides. But a big part of that adaptation is revenue maximization – making darn sure they are getting as many dollars from every patient as possible.
What does this mean for you?
Pretty obvious, methinks…