Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Patients Shoulder More Health Care Costs

Today in the Wall Street Journal comes more foreshadowing of the health care crisis in America:
"The average medical cost for a family of four participating in a preferred provider organization, or PPO, program is up 9.6% from 2005 to $13,382 in 2006, according to Milliman, a consulting and actuarial firm that released its second annual study Thursday. Unlike other major health care studies, which look at costs in terms of annual premiums or just the employers share, the Milliman study also factors in employee's costs, including out-of-pocket expenses.

A separate study by Watson Wyatt, a global management-consulting firm, found that businesses expect to further restrict or eliminate retiree medical plans."

As the population gets older and more people enter the "golden years," the term "golden years" takes on new meaning:
"The vast majority of businesses are planning to curtail medical plans for current and future retirees, according to the Watson Wyatt study. The survey of 164 companies found that 14% plan to eliminate the benefit for future retirees over age 65, and 6% plan to eliminate it for their current retirees over age 65."
When retirees can no longer afford healthcare, we'll have a huge national health care crisis. After all, retirees utilize over 70% of all health care expenses. Since businesses will no longer shoulder this burden, plan on increased numbers of people than previously projected being "uninsured."

And this won't be healthy for any of us.


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