Half of Consumers Think Health Care Spending is Wasted

by Admin on August 26, 2011

in News, Patients, Payers, Providers

We appear to have “bent the curve” in health care spending last year; national health spending grew at a historically unprecedented low of  3.9%. That’s including all national health expenditures — private insurance, Medicare and Medicaid, and out-of-pocket expenses.

You would think this was a good thing, right?

But according to Deloitte’s new survey, not necessarily:

  • In the United States, three in four (75 percent) consumers say the recent economic slowdown has impacted their health care spending.
  • Forty-one percent are more cautious about spending, 20 percent have cut back on spending, and 13 percent say they have reduced their spending considerably.
  • Sixty-three percent say their monthly health care spending limits their household’s ability to purchase other essentials, such as housing, groceries, fuel, and education.
  • In an effort to save money, 36 percent of prescription medication users say they asked their doctor to prescribe a generic drug instead of a brand name drug.
  • One in four (25 percent) U.S. consumers skipped seeing a doctor when sick or injured.
When 63% of the populations says monthly health care spending limits their ability to buy food, shelter, education, and even gas, we have a problem. It appears that everyone who can put off spending money on their health does so, until the crisis hits them and bankrupts them.
A surprising number of consumers of all ages in all the twelve countries Deloitte surveyed, however, think technology will help them manage their health care and want to use it:
  • Consumers are highly interested in using medical devices to monitor their condition and send information electronically to their doctor, ranging from a low of 46 percent consumers in Belgium through to a high of 79 percent of consumers in Mexico. (Sixty-one percent of U.S. consumers are interested in doing so.)
  • Over half (52 percent) of U.S. consumers say they would use a smart phone or PDA to monitor their health if they were able to access their medical records and download information about their medical condition.
  • Less than one in five consumers surveyed say they maintain a personal health record (PHR) electronically, with the exception of consumers in China where one in three have such a record.
  • Consumers are concerned that an Internet-based PHR might put privacy and security of personal health or medical information at risk.
You should download this report and read it. It demonstrates that American consumers are not stupid. They know our system is wasteful, and they know why. Although three quarters of them feel they don’t have a strong understanding of how the system works,
• Consumers believe that hospital costs (68%), lifestyle
choices (62%), and fraud (62%) are major drivers of
overall health care costs. Administrative costs (57%),
prescription drugs (54%), and defensive medicine
(51%) are also commonly cited.
• Over half (51%) of all consumers believe that 50% or
more of health care spending is wasted
• Of those believing that the system is wasteful,
49% feel that money is wasted because
individuals are not taking enough responsibility
for maintaining their own health.
• Consumers also blame redundant paperwork
(55%), defensive medicine (46%), lack of
adherence to evidence-based approaches (40%),
and extreme measures taken at the end of life to
extend life for a short period of time (35%)
Perhaps the consumer has begun to vote with her feet, and in an era of scarce resources is not willing to participate in a wasteful, useless system that hasn’t empowered her.
On the other hand, a surprising number of people have decided to take vitamins and supplements (82%) compared to the number that participate in healthy living or wellness programs (25%). That’s probably because it’s still easier to pop a pill than take a walk.
Americans perceive themselves as healthy (90%), although 55% of them have been diagnosed with one or more chronic condition — the kinds of things that are driving costs up the most.
Once again I beg you, if you are interested at all in the future, take a look at this survey and let’s figure out how to fix things:-)

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