In February 2018, President Donald Trump made a number of legal changes to Medicare. In doing so, he exposed the real healthcare costs in the U.S.
These rising costs don’t just affect patients. They also affect hospitals and employers offering health insurance plans.
Can healthcare costs be managed or reduced?
Most definitely. Using an oncology management program or even shopping around can help.
But read on to discover 5 ways to bring down costs in 2018.
1) Encourage Consumers to ‘Shop Around’
People don’t book hotels or even choose restaurants without looking at their options first. Websites like Expedia make it easier to compare prices and choose the best deal.
Why should health care be any different?
Healthcare costs vary even within metropolitan areas. Insurers don’t pass on cost information to patients. So they can’t compare prices.
Letting patients compare results and outcomes, as well as prices, puts the control back in their hands.
NPR and Kaiser Health News started their Bill of the Month feature to expose the truth behind medical bills. It’s the first step towards educating patients.
Payors can vote with their wallets, which forces healthcare providers to offer better value.
2) Make Greater Use of an Oncology Management Program
Oncology incurs more costs than many other health problems or diseases. Diagnostics, imaging, hospitalization, and drugs combine to create higher costs.
An oncology management program draws these varied elements together to help reduce healthcare costs. The combination of support, monitoring, and communication offer a better option to payors and less stress for patients.
3) Focus on Preventative Solutions
Much of modern medicine relies on diagnosing and treating a condition or disease. It’s a reactive model that only comes into force once a health problem arises.
Placing more emphasis on preventative care helps to lower healthcare costs. It ensures patients take more control of their own health. With fewer health complaints, they require less treatment.
Teaching young people how to practice self-care is the first step. Introducing wellness programs in the workplace can also help people to manage their own stress.
4) Order Fewer Medical Tests
Many medical tests are vital to gaining a proper diagnosis. But many have no benefit, and can even cause harm. Unnecessary tests drive up healthcare costs with no benefit.
This requires a mindset shift for both doctors and patients. Doctors should rely only on those tests that they know are essential. Patients shouldn’t feel a medical visit must include a test.
This links to the previous point. Self-care includes knowing how to care for yourself when the need arises. So a patient with a viral infection shouldn’t expect a test if the doctor prescribes bed rest.
5) Allow Drug Prices to be Negotiated
The federal government is the top drugs buyer in the US. Yet legal restrictions mean it can’t renegotiate prices with pharmaceutical companies.
A two-pack of EpiPens costs $600. Even with insurance, it costs $300. The price is 500% more than it was in 2007. If providers could negotiate the prices, they could lower healthcare costs for common drugs.
Healthcare Costs Don’t Need to Spiral
With proper management, the cost of healthcare can remain affordable and accessible. That benefits administrators of health plans and employers who can pass those benefits onto patients.
With the aging population, oncology management is perhaps the area most within the control of payors.
If you’d like to know more about our oncology management program, contact us today.