US Health Care System Challenges
There are certain challenges which face the current healthcare insurance industry in the US. Significant coverage gaps exist that lead to inaccessibility to healthcare services and occurrence of avoidable deaths. The Institute of Medicine (“IOM.Edu”) has estimated that each year around 18,000 deaths occur, in the US, due to insurance coverage gaps. The major challenges facing the US healthcare system include high administrative costs, inability to control the development of chronic conditions and inability to prevent life threatening conditions.
A US Government Accountability Office study has revealed that the number of employers in the US offering health insurance coverage is on the decline. This trend is particularly evident in the case of small businesses in the US. In the year 2001, 60% of US employers, with a staff strength of 3 to 199 workers, provided employee insurance coverage. The records for the year 2006 indicate that the figure has dipped to 60%.
The number of uninsured individuals in the US is also on the rise. The amount of money spent on national healthcare is rising by 7% on an annual basis. The rising healthcare costs have contributed to the problems of the citizens. The US Census data indicate that almost 46 million people were left uninsured in the year 2004. That is an increase of nearly 6 million over the figures obtained for the year 2000.
The reduction in health insurance coverage and the rise in healthcare costs have made it difficult for US families and individuals to get timely medical treatment and proper medical facilities. Often people are faced with severe medical problems. With the rising costs if healthcare in the US, the medical treatment, for these conditions, take a major chunk out of their retirement savings.
In fact this has resulted in a sharp rise in medical tourism in the US. Often, it has been found that US citizens can get excellent medical care in foreign countries, at far cheaper rates.