Will Health Cost Escalation Ever End?

An advance that came with the Affordable Care Act is the requirement that health insurance includes unlimited lifetime benefits. Stated another way, patients have an annual “out of pocket” maximum” personal cost exposure, so most of us are not going to run out of money to pay for medical and prescription coverage needs. The requirement has been enforced for five years now.
A consequence of unlimited coverage is an increase in the number of multi-million dollar patients in America. For example, individual patients can now receive prescription treatments that cost as much as $2 million annually. Concerns about Rx toxicity and drug reactions that may cause sudden death result in high monitoring expenses during the administration of these drugs, adding to the cost burden.
As we all gasp at the cost, the government supports what is charged with patent protection to allow developers and manufacturers to recover upfront research and development costs. Big questions arise about long term benefits and the impact of premium cost inflation to pay for these new therapies. Here are some of them:
A. Is spreading these costs to all Americans supportable when health insurance rates are already so high?
B. Would a single payer insurance system expend its resources to pay for these expensive therapies?
C. Will health cost escalation abate as ever more expensive therapies and services emerge?
D. Is there a better way to manage the cost of these super high cost outliers?
I attempted to answer these questions in an earlier article about the “3% Solution”. Please take a look.


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