The United States continues to spend more on healthcare than other nations, but there are signs of positive change. For the fourth year in a row, growth in health insurance premiums actually declined across the nation.
As healthcare leaders in the United States, Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies continue working hard to keep healthcare quality-driven, accessible and affordable. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana pays out 85 cents of every premium dollar to cover the costs of hospitals, physician services and prescription drugs for our customers. We use only 7 cents of each premium dollar for administrative costs. Yet our nation still struggles to bring healthcare costs under control.
Learn more about rising healthcare costs and how we work to control them by viewing the information and videos below. You can also hear our CEO, Mike Reitz, speak about how your premium is spent and what other issues our industry is facing by viewing his Open Mike video series.
Health insurance companies base their premium rates on the amount of claims they've paid in the past and what they expect future claims to cost. When insurers pay out more in claims than they receive in premiums, and when future services are predicted to cost more, premiums must go up to cover these costs.
Many factors contribute to the rising cost of medical care. Some of the factors are things that consumers, healthcare providers (doctors, hospitals and other healthcare professionals) and insurers can work together to control.
Other factors are beyond anyone's control. For example, no one can control the fact that our population is getting older. And people tend to have more medical needs as they grow older. When you multiply the higher cost of each service by a greater demand for more services, you have an equation for higher costs.
Here are some of the factors that contribute to the cost of healthcare:
As you can see, there are many different factors that contribute to the cost of healthcare. Together, these factors ultimately drive up the premiums you pay for health insurance. Getting the cost of healthcare under control is not an easy task to accomplish. It will take the efforts of healthcare providers, health insurance companies, lawmakers and consumers - working together and as individuals - to have an impact.
For years, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana has been a leader in the fight to keep healthcare affordable. Some of our work is easily seen, such as anti-fraud efforts that saved our members nearly $5.5 million in a two-year period.
Other cost-cutting projects are more complex and behind the scenes. But each day we take our responsibility to manage your healthcare dollar very seriously.
Here are some ways we work for our customers to control your costs:
These examples represent just a few of the ways Blue Cross employees work to make our own processes more efficient, educate providers and assist customers in keeping healthcare costs as affordable as possible. It's important to remember that Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana doesn't deliver healthcare; we finance it for you. You trust us with your premium dollars, and we work for you.
Your role in the process is simple: be the best consumer of healthcare services you can be.
That's not to suggest you don't seek needed medical treatment. We just encourage you to make informed choices about when to seek medical care and from whom.
When you shop for other goods and services, you want to know what you are getting, how much it will cost and how it will benefit you. You strive not to waste your hard-earned money. The same holds true with your healthcare needs. Everyone can play a part in helping to hold down healthcare costs.
Here are some things you can do:
*Physician services include doctor visits and services, imaging and outpatient services not performed in a hospital. Source: Louisiana Health Service and Indemnity Co. and HMO Louisiana, Inc. 2008 financials
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