How can I follow current trends in private health insurance?
If you want to follow the latest trends in health insurance, your best bet is to go to the place where you can find the latest trends in anything- the internet. You could go the obvious route and visit the Latest Health Insurance Trends website. You could also visit any one of dozens of government and educational websites that follow health insurance trends. Another possible source would be the websites of the health insurance companies themselves.
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One organization that does a particularly good job of staying on top of trends in health insurance is the Kaiser Family Foundation, which features a printable chart book of trends in health insurance. The foundation is an independent nonprofit that provides information about a variety of health care and health insurance topics. The Kaiser website may be helpful if you are getting ready to do a health insurance comparison.
The Current Trend for Health Insurance Costs
Health insurance, like the cost of health care itself, is rising steadily.
According to a report by the Health Research Institute listed on the America’s Health Insurance Plans website, health care costs are expected to rise by 8.5 percent in 2012 after already having gone up eight percent in 2011.
As health care costs go up, health insurance companies need to raise their premiums, copayments and/or deductibles to cover their rising expenses.
Among other things, one factor that may drive up health care costs is the aftermath of the recession. The combination of recession stress and putting off doctor visits and treatments due to lack of money or insurance will put a strain on the system. Other factors that could raise costs include the consolidation of healthcare facilities, the aging of the “baby boomer” generation and general inflation.
To Keep Health Care Affordable
In 2010, the U.S. government passed the Affordable Care Act, which is discussed in detail on the White House website. These new government regulations for health insurance companies are designed to make health care more affordable for everyone, especially those who had a hard time finding affordable health care in the past. The law prohibits insurance companies from charging deductibles or copayments on important preventative procedures, eliminates lifetime maximums and regulates yearly maximums, and attempts to bring down health insurance costs overall. It also provides for the creation of a health insurance marketplace in 2014 where state-run insurance policies will be able to compete with private health insurance.
For their part, insurance companies are working with employers to provide less expensive health insurance options for people. Perhaps one of the most effective new tools is the high deductible health insurance plan, which allows people to save big money on premiums, but pay a high deductible for services. Another tool that is being used particularly in employer based health insurance is wellness programs that reward employees with premium discounts for participation.
Health Insurance in the Future
While nobody can predict exactly how health insurance will change in the future, there are a few obvious changes that one could expect. First off, as the world goes digital, there will be a move toward paperless health insurance claims processing. There is a lot of time and money spent on paper forms in the insurance industry, so not many people will be sorry to see them go away.
The future probably holds a greater focus on partnerships and cooperation between insurance companies, health care providers, patients and employers. By having all the players working together with a holistic approach toward a patient’s health, a plan can be developed that will not only keep the patient healthy, but keep their costs under control as well. To this end, some health insurance providers are already partnering with specific hospitals to try to keep costs under control and quality of care up to standards.
As life spans continue to lengthen, health insurance will need to develop better systems for long term care and insurance for the elderly. The Medicare system works, for the most part, but it cannot continue to function without drastic increases in funding as health care costs go up and the number of people needing it rises. The problem is going to be a particular focus in the near future as the “baby boomer” generation reaches the qualification age for Medicare.
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