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6 Reasons for Rising Healthcare Cost Problems in the US

The problems with rising healthcare cost in the US can be partly attributed to an aging population that has been struggling with the wrath of chronic diseases. Another thing to worry about at this moment is that the GDP growth rate is lagging behind healthcare spending.

u.s. healthcareAccording to a CMS report, healthcare cost will eat up a major share of the GDP at nearly 20% by 2025. In 2015, the amount spent was $3.2 trillion. This is equal to $9,990 per person and 17.8% of the GDP. An increasing overall spending on health and related services is making us poorer but nowhere has it seemed to slow down even after a decade.

In this article, you will learn about 6 major problems that are fueling healthcare cost and their potential solutions. Before we move forward, let’s have a quick look at the projected capital spending on health and related services through 2016-2025.

  • Over the 2016-2025 period, total healthcare spending is expected to outpace the GDP growth rate. Going by the numbers, health spending is projected to grow 1.2 percentage points faster than Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per year over the 2016-25 period. As a result, the health share of GDP is expected to witness a jump from 17.8 percent in 2015 to 19.9 percent by 2025.
  • Presuming the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will last until 2025, the percentage of Americans getting insured is projected to increase from 90.9 percent in 2015 to 91.5 percent in 2025.
  • Interestingly, health spending saw a decline from 5.8 percent in 2015 to 4.8 percent in 2016. The major reason being a temporary setback on the expansion of the Affordable Care Act. In the same period, Medicaid spending growth slowed down from 9.7 percent to 3.7 percent. Likewise, private health insurance spending growth was down to 5.9 percent in 2016 from 7.2 percent in 2015.
  • In 2017, overall spending on health is expected to grow by 5.4 percent. The major driver of this growth is an increased spending in Medicare and private health insurance.

(Source: National Health Expenditure Fact Sheet,

These Factors are Fueling Healthcare Cost Growth in the US

  1. Uncoordinated healthcare system. In fact, our healthcare system is much unorganized. As a result, overtreatment of a health condition has become a common thing. Take an example, if you have a health condition that requires a medical test, there is a chance that you may have to take the same test several times. Obviously, this is going to create a hole in your pocket. In order to address the problem of overtreatment (or more precisely unnecessary treatment), doctors and medical systems are welcoming electronic health records in their practice, which is a positive sign.
  2. An aging population and burden of chronic illnesses. It is natural that old people are more likely to require frequent healthcare services. But what’s not natural is that many of them are obese and have more than one chronic illness. In fact, about 50 percent of US population has one or more chronic conditions. Most notably, asthma, heart disease, and diabetes. Obesity which affects two-thirds of adults is a key risk factor for all these health conditions. What’s the solution? Shed some pounds, watch your diet and engage in suitable physical activity regularly.
  3. Rising cost of new drugs, technologies, and services. With the advancement of health science, many new drugs, technologies, and services are making their way into the healthcare system. While this is a good thing from most perspectives, you have to pay a hefty amount to leverage the benefits. In order to streamline the cost, you should assess a new treatment’s benefits against the cost. It is necessary because many new treatments are comparable or even less efficient than the existing treatments.
  4. Limited resources to facilitate the choice of medical care. We have a number of choices when it comes to selecting a health service or treatment. Unfortunately, we lack sufficient information that helps us make a better decision while choosing a medical care. In fact, there is no standard source that informs patients about the cost-effectiveness of a medical service and available options. Consequently, patients often end up paying more for a service which they could have used for a lesser amount.
  5. The monopoly of hospitals and providers. Big hospitals and medical insurers command a high level of authority when serving the patients. Mergers and acquisitions in thehealthcare industry are, no doubt, a good thing if you consider increased efficiency and better care. But the increasing control of big organizations can backfire as well. As a result, they have a tighter control over the healthcare cost and patients are left with fewer options.
  6. Uncertainty about the illness. Many illnesses that have vague symptoms or long-lasting nature are yet another reason why the healthcare cost is skyrocketing. If you and your doctor are not sure about the illness, you will have to take multiple tests and procedures that will ultimately add numbers to the bill. In another common practice called defensive medicine, doctors order multiple tests in an attempt to protect themselves from possible legal problems.



Want To Know More?

To learn more about therising healthcare cost problem in the US, visit Also, gain unlimited access to a myriad of other benefits. Readers can find evidence-based health information with just a click. Driven by the aim to provide authentic information about diseases, drugs, supplements, medical procedures, and lifestyle tips to all its visitors, and CEO Anthony Casimano allow visitors to read about the best doctors locally. Readers can choose the doctor that best meets their unique health needs, and request to schedule an appointment instantly.



Medical Identity Theft

Identity theft, has spawned a vicious new kind of crime: medical identity theft. Thieves steal your personal information to line their own pockets with fraudulent claims against your own health policy. Medical thieves can heist your health-insurance number, Social Security number and other personal information. Often the information is stolen by employees at medical facilities, and resold on the black market. Thieves also may hack into medical databases or break into medical facilities. Medical ID theft can cost you thousands of dollars, constant stress, and even threaten your life and health. Unless you check your medical records closely, you may discover you were defrauded only after the damage has been done.


The scams

  • Illegal and bogus treatment. Medical ID thieves bill your health plan for fake or inflated treatment claims. The crooks often are doctors and other medical personnel who know how the insurance billing system works. Organized theft rings also are involved. They buy stolen patient information on the black market, and set up fake clinics to make bogus claims against the health policies of honest consumers.
  • Buy addictive drugs. Medical personnel with access to your data may use your identity to obtain prescription drugs to sell, or feed their own addictions. Dishonest pharmacists might bill your policy for narcotics, or nurses may call in prescriptions in a patient’s name but pick it up themselves.
  • Obtain free treatment. Medical ID thieves who don’t have their own health coverage often receive free medical treatment, courtesy of your policy. They assume your identity at a hospital or clinic, and your policy receives the bills.

What’s the damage?

Medical ID theft can cause serious and long-lasting damage. Recovering can take years.

  • Ruined credit. Thieves often ring up large hospital bills in your name, then disappear without paying. This can ruin your credit. Straightening out inaccurate credit records can take months or even years of time-consuming headaches. Meanwhile, you could be hounded by bill collectors, turned down for loans or mortgages, and forced to pay higher lending costs. You also could lose jobs; some employers check a candidate’s credit history.
  • Loss of health coverage. Fraudulent insurance claims can max out your health-policy limits. This can leave you with no coverage when you have a medical emergency, or need an expensive operation or other treatment.
  • Inaccurate records. Medical ID theft can threaten your health or even life. A thief’s treatment history can end up on your medical records. This could include the wrong blood type, or medicine to which you’re allergic. Your life thus could be on the line if you receive the wrong treatment based on the thief’s treatment. Your records also could be falsely saddled with damaging — and inaccurate — diagnoses such as mental illness. This could follow you throughout your life.
  • Legal troubles. A pregnant woman stole the medical identity of a mother, and delivered a baby who tested positive for illegal drugs. Social workers tried to take away the real mother’s four children, falsely thinking she was the addict. She had to hire a lawyer to keep her family.
  • Higher health premiums. False claims against a health insurance policy can raise your health premiums — costing you yet more money.



How to protect yourself

Here are ways you escape the scourge of medical ID theft.

  • Examine your EOBs. Review the explanation of benefits (EOB) form sent by your health insurer. If you see treatments you never received, immediately notify your insurer and medical providers.
  • Monitor your insurance benefits. Ask your insurer for a listing of benefits paid out under your policy. Do this at least once a year.
  • Check your medical records. If you suspect you’re a victim of medical ID fraud, get a copy of your records from your doctor, hospital, pharmacy or laboratory.

Don’t share medical or insurance information by phone or email unless you initiated the contact and know who you’re dealing with. Keep paper and electronic copies of your medical and health insurance records in a safe place. Shred outdated health insurance forms, prescription and physician statements, and the labels from prescription bottles before you throw them out. Also, don’t forget to read the Privacy Policy on the websites you visit and you should be fine.


Fears and Phobias Related to the Doctor: How to Conquer your Fears

Meta: Fears and phobias are common. But they should not keep you from getting proper medical help. Read on to find how you can win over your fears.

Do you fear visiting the doctor? Does the sight of blood or injuriesFEARS & PHOBIAS overwhelm you? You are not alone. In fact, many people do not love paying visits to the doctor’s office. These fears and phobias may not cause an immediate harm to your health. Nevertheless, in the long run, avoiding doctor visits can be hazardous. Learn more about the measures to overcome the fear and participate actively in your treatment plan.

Doctor Anxiety: Fears and Phobias That Are Not Rational

No doubt, it is frightening to imagine a doctor piercing your vein with a sharp needle. In this case, the perceived feelings of harm may be natural. But the big question is, would you not take the medicine just to avoid the fear? This is where the fears and phobias differ from a type of anxiety problem called doctor anxiety.

In fact, a small percentage of patients may be too much afraid of the doctor and medical procedures that they may run away from a medical consultation.

From the psychological viewpoint, fear arises when the mind takes some people, conditions or events as a threat to one’s health, security, or even identity. The same applies in the case of doctor anxiety as well.

There are at least two possible ways the mind can connect with the hospitals and doctors. First, it can think them as a savior and provider of relief. Next, as a source of pain, blood injuries, and sickness. Both the perceptions are partially right. But the real problem stems from the fact that in many people, the negative perceptions trump the positive ones.

You should understand that these fears and phobias do not have much relevance when it comes to getting emergency help. However, in the case of preventive approaches, they may increase the risk of many diseases. For example, routine doctor visits and blood glucose tests are essential if you are a diabetic. Such healthy practice helps to keep the blood glucose in check while reducing the risk of complications. But what would you do if the fear of the injections overrides the fear of complications?

What Are Common Fears And Phobias?

Depending on a person’s psychology, past experience, and emotional support system in the family, common fears may include those of:

  • Does the memory of sharp needles raise your heartbeat every time you see a doctor? In fact, the fear seems reasonable, as you do not want to harm yourself. In some cases, it can be so overwhelming that the patients end up losing their consciousness. The needles may also be used to draw blood for a test. For this reason, the fear of injections presents a serious public health issue.
  • Getting a life-threatening diagnosis. Are you afraid what you will do if the test gives a positive HIV result? In this case, you may run away from the test because you cannot accept what the test brings.
  • Blood injuries. The sight of blood injuries or fresh blood can initiate a number of physical as well as psychological symptoms in some patients. For example, excessive sweating, shakiness, and even fainting.
  • Exposure to an uncomfortable situation. For example, mammography could cause problems for some women. Similarly, tests that involve private parts such as colonoscopy and prostate biopsy are more than just uncomfortable. Essentially, it also depends on the socio-cultural background of the patients.

How to Beat the Fears and Phobias

Unfortunately, you cannot expect to overcome your fears with just a single attempt. But when you practice the following measures on a regular basis, they can provide relief.

  • Identify the triggers. “Know what overwhelms you”. At times, people do not exactly know what is making them anxious. Therefore, the first step is to gain insight of the triggers, their frequency, and pattern. If you have a traumatic childhood experience that might be causing problems currently, seek help from a psychologist. Then, you can move to the next step.
  • Do not anticipate. Face the fears rationally. Keep in mind that your fear will only grow if you run away. For example, if you are going for a cancer test, plan what you will do if the test is positive. Remember what would have happened if the cancer was growing insidiously. When you think rationally, everything starts to make sense.
  • Seek help. There is nothing wrong with asking for help when you need it the most. Ask someone you love to join you in the visit. Moreover, you may seek professional help. Talk to your doctor about the fears and phobias. Then, ask if there is any coping strategy that can help. Sedatives that calm down the nerves may provide relief if you fear injections.
  • CBT may help. CBT or cognitive behavioral therapy teaches you different coping techniques to change your thinking about a potential trigger. As a result, you become stronger to face the problems.
  • Consider trying exposure therapy. This treatment approach may be used if the fears are not very intense. In this therapy, you will be exposed to the triggers in a controlled and supportive environment. With every new exposure session, the fears will step down the hierarchy and finally become insignificant.
  • Think of changing the doctor. This is one of the few last things you can do to overcome the fears and phobias. But this may not always successful considering the fear may originate from factors other than the doctor.

Want To Know More?

To learn more about fears and phobias, visit Also, gain unlimited access to a myriad of other benefits. Readers can find evidence-based health information with just a click. Driven by the aim to provide authentic information about diseases, drugs, supplements, medical procedures, and lifestyle tips to all its visitors, and CEO Anthony Casimano allow visitors to read about the best doctors locally. Readers can choose the doctor that best meets their unique health needs, and request to schedule an appointment instantly.


Doctor’s Retirement Age

In the 1990s, the average American expected to retire at age 60, according to the Gallup polls. In 2012, the same poll found most Americans expect to retire at age 67. Physicians, however, show different retirement patterns related to issues other than age. A family practice doctor in solo practice in a rural town may find it almost impossible to attract a replacement. As a result, he may continue to practice medicine for many years past the usual age of retirement.

Later Retirement

Physicians tend to retire later than other professionals, according to an August 2006 article in “Minnesota Medicine.” The article notes that in 1995, the average age of retirement for physicians was slightly over 67. Specialists may be more likely to retire earlier because they do not have continuous patient contact in the way that a family doctor or internist does, and because they have higher pre-retirementdoctors-retirement-age (1)-1 incomes to help support earlier retirement.

Changing Jobs

Most physicians in 2008 were younger than 45, according to the 2010 edition of the American Medical Association’s “Physician Characteristics and Distribution in the U.S.”– well below retirement age. However, 20 percent of physicians were 65 or older, and only half of these were listed as inactive, indicating retirement. In some cases, a physician may stop providing patient care but move into administrative tasks as a medical director, insurance consultant or other job in which medical expertise is desirable.

Doctors are Older

Although the overall physician population has grown 188 percent between 1970 and 2008, according to the AMA, the physician population over age 65 has grown by 408 percent in the same period. Economic factors may be keeping many physicians on the job longer, according to data from The Doctors Company, a medical malpractice insurance firm. The company found that the portion of physicians reporting satisfaction with retirement plans has dropped 18 percent since 2006, and the average age at which an internist retired had increased from 62 in 2002 to 70 in 2009.

Expected Work Life

Once a physician finishes residency, his expected work life is about 35 years, according to an October 2004 article in “Health Services Research.” The 11 years or more of education for a physician from college to the end of residency means few begin to practice before the age of 28 or 29. Female physicians tend to retire earlier than males, according to the Health Resources and Services Administration. It also found that 50 percent of male physicians have retired by age 65 and 80 percent have retired by age 75.

As we age, our strength and vitality decrease; it is simply the order of things. An older person cannot run as fast or jump as high and does not have the same level of energy he or she had 20 or 25 years earlier. So the same must be true for higher mental functions, memory, the ability to learn, and clinical reasoning. Some believe that the experience that we acquire over the years makes up for everything.  Several studies have demonstrated that a decline in cognitive ability is associated with aging. Unfortunately, the rate of participation in continuing medical education activities decreases with age.

Doctor’s Retirement Age: Should There Be a Limit?

doctors-retirement-age (1)-1Meta: What do you see when you visit a doctor? Age or competency? Read this article to understand if it’s rational to regulate the doctor’s retirement age.

The doctor’s retirement age is a debatable issue even among veteran professionals and policymakers. Aging is inevitable and so is retirement from duty. Once a health professional steps into old age, they are required to leave their office. Of many reasons that necessitate the departure, sliding mental function with possible impact on service quality holds the greatest relevance. However, one cannot ignore the fact that aging does not necessarily cause cognitive decline.

Another thing to consider is that public health is a very sensitive issue. Even a slight misjudgment can lead to a serious consequence. In this way, setting the doctor’s retirement age limit seems rational.

But can we decide a doctor’s competency by the numbers on their birth certificates? Or isn’t it true that older doctors have more experience than a fresher graduate? Many such questions spark a debate and, looking at the current trend, we can only expect to see more in the future. Statistics show between 1975 and 2013, the number of US physicians aged 65 or above has multiplied four times. Similarly, 25% of US doctors are 65 or above. Nonetheless, not all of them are practicing.

With all things considered, the issue is just getting more complicated with every passing day. This article will explore the pros and cons of determining a doctor’s retirement age. Also, you will learn its impacts on public health.

Current Guidelines on Doctor’s Retirement Age

There is no standard guideline that forbids a doctor from practicing solely based on age. Nevertheless, they must meet the licensing criteria set forth by the state. Moreover, many hospitals may screen for age before recruiting. In a nutshell, we can say doctors are free to practice as long as patient-health is not compromised.

The American Medical Association’s Council on Medical Education also supports this. Even so, the AMA urges all older physicians to develop a set of standards on their own and monitor it regularly.

Why Setting Age Limit May Be a Good Idea, or Maybe Not!

The Good

Who does not get old? Everyone does and no one is immune to the effect of time.

By the same token, doctors also age and get health problems just like the general population. For example, impaired hearing, weak vision, and memory problems. Other conditions include anage-related decline in decision-making, decreased concentration, and slowed response. All these could possibly dent their competency.

Moreover, many older doctors who have been practicing for decades do not easily accept that their time is gone. They may work even if they have clear signs of age-related impairment.

For the proponents of age-based competency testing, these reasons are enough to raise their voice.

The Bad

Now there is the other side of the story.

The critics strongly believe cognitive impairment is not exclusive to the older doctors. Even a fresher mind could have any of these problems. To further support their view, they assert that the wealth of experience senior doctors have cannot be ignored.

Many senior doctors see fewer patients as they age. Consequently, they have a lower workload,therefore helping them work more efficiently and effectively. This also ensures that more doctors are available to serve.

The University of Virginia Health System and Stanford Health Care conduct special screenings for doctors above 70 and 75 respectively. To everyone’s surprise, most of them secure good scores. This clearly raises a question if examinations are only the way to assess a doctor’s competency. After all, life is more than just a pass-fail examination.

The Bottom Line

From the doctor’s viewpoint, age should not bar them from practicing as long as they fulfill the requirements and provide an effective care. Nevertheless, they may work for fewer hours and appear in cognitive tests whenever the authorities demand.

The decline in motor skills and mental functions, in general, does not occur overnight. For this reason, preventing a competent but old doctor from seeing patients does not seem too logical. If the decline is very serious, this will naturally show up in the form of a critical issue.

Senior doctors should also update their knowledge periodically to keep up with the rapidly changing health technologies. Also, they should be aware of their time of retirement and not associate retirement with a loss of self-respect.

Increasing age might be a problem for surgeons but it is less likely to leave any considerable impact on the performance of general duty medical officers

What You Can Do as A Patient

You have to understand that this is more of a tussle between skill and experience rather than young and old doctors. If something can compensate for skills and experience, you would not mind getting checked by a 90-year old or a 25-year old doctor.

At the end, it all comes down to your personal preferences. In any case, make sure to seek professional help only from a competent doctor. Before scheduling an appointment, here are some tips to follow.

  • Prepare a list of potential candidates based on which services you are looking for.
  • Streamline your search by eliminating the ones who do not fit your criteria.
  • Check the doctor’s profile using innovative online tools like You may also go through reviews by other patients.
  • Request to schedule the appointment and, before that, be clear about what to ask during the visit.

Want To Know More?

To learn more about the potential advantages and disadvantages of setting the doctor’s retirement age, visit Also, gain unlimited access to a myriad of other benefits. Readers can find evidence-based health information with just a click. Driven by the aim to provide authentic information about diseases, drugs, supplements, medical procedures, and lifestyle tips to all its visitors, and CEO Anthony Casimano allow visitors to read about the best doctors locally. Readers can choose the doctor that best meets their unique health needs, and request to schedule an appointment instantly.