- Healthcare costs are outpacing wage increases and inflation.
- Employers are transferring costs to employees by having them pay more out of pocket.
- The Justice Department approved the CVS-Aetna deal, and CVS plans to provide in-store healthcare services.
Health insurance costs continue to rise, according to the 2018 Kaiser Family Foundation Employer Health Benefits Survey. In fact, the amount Americans pay for healthcare is actually increasing faster than wages and inflation. This year, employer-sponsored health insurance family plan premiums rose by 5 percent to an average of $19,616, and single plan premiums rose 3 percent to $6,896.
Wages only increased an average of 2.6 percent, however, and inflation grew by 2.5 percent during the last year.
Click to see the how small Amazon’s headline-making wage increase actually is compared to Jeff Bezos’ net worth.
The survey also found that employers transfer costs to employees by having them pay more out of pocket. As of 2018, 85 percent of employees’ plans include deductibles compared with 81 percent in 2017 and 59 percent 10 years ago.
CVS-Aetna Deal Could Mean More Affordable Healthcare
There’s hope, however, that the U.S. government’s approval of an acquisition deal between CVS and Aetna could bring some welcome relief in the form of hundreds of dollars in healthcare savings. Close to a year ago, national drugstore chain CVS announced its intent to buy Aetna, one of the largest health insurers, for $69 billion. The Justice Department approved the deal on the condition that Aetna sell its private Medicare drug plans as part of the department’s antitrust review.
While the details of the acquisition continue to be worked out, the real focus is on what this type of landmark deal means for consumers who want relief from health insurance costs and improved access to quality healthcare. The new company plans to transform many of its thousands of clinics and pharmacies into more convenient offices that provide fast, knowledgeable care for certain health conditions.
How CVS Can Provide Lower-Cost Drugs, Tests and Healthcare Services
Currently, CVS’ Minute Clinics provide lab tests, vaccinations, and treatment for conditions like ear infections. But, the acquisition would mean added services, including counseling for medication use, diets, and weight loss.
Based on CVS’ price list, the average consumer could save on possible discounted prescriptions and lower overall visit cost. The new company also plans to add $59 Teladoc virtual care options, which could mean more than $60 savings for some patients on one visit alone. This could add up over time to hundreds of dollars in savings per year.
Still, some are concerned that such a large consolidation could negatively impact consumer choice and quality. For now, consumers will have to wait and see what happens as the changes aren’t expected to go into effect until 2019 and beyond.
Click to read about 34 countries that pay less for healthcare than Americans do.
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