The Cost of US Healthcare

Americans spend significantly more on health care than other countries, upwards of $3.1 trillion per year (that’s $3,100,000 million), yet our lifespan is not comparatively long. Other countries with longer lifespans than the US include Canada, the UK and Sweden; and they all do it for less money.

Cost of the Top 5 Major Conditions

  1. Diabetes mellitus. At a price tag of $101 billion, it’s almost 3X that spent on Alzheimer’s disease. Of that amount, 58% was for drugs.
  2. Ischemic Heart Disease. $88 billion. Heart disease is the #1 cause of death for both men and women.
  3. Low back pain and neck pain. 69% of $87.6 billion was for patients age 20-64. There are more adults who have chronic pain than those who have diabetes, cancer and heart disease put together.
  4. High blood pressure. $83.9 billion. About 1/3 of all adults have high blood pressure and only about half (54%) are adequately treated. Complications of high blood pressure include heart attack, stroke, chronic heart failure and kidney failure.
  5. Falls. $76.3 billion. Many elder patients fall at home, have surgery, then get rehabilitation in a nursing home. Many die and never go home.

Planning your retirement? Chronic illness are responsible for 85% of health care costs.

Incorporate your illnesses into the equation, especially if you have diabetes, heart disease, back or neck pain pain, use the ER, or take pharmaceuticals. That’s because from 1996-2013, low back pain and diabetes had the fastest rate of spending increase, at 6.4 % and 6.1% annual growth, respectively. Emergency care and pharmaceuticals had  6.4% and 5.6% spending increases.

The last year of life can be a very, very expensive one – Medicare costs during this time are 6X the average, and cost 1/4 of the entire Medicare budget.

Not only are healthcare costs increasing with time; they have risen much faster than annual income. The inflation rate ending December 2017 was 2.1% – in contrast, by 2021, healthcare fees are expected to rise by 64 – 73%.

Be sure to factor in healthcare costs to your retirement savings, which could very well be spent down on medical bills. Of patients who had difficulty paying their medical bills, the most common areas they skimped on were food, housing and clothing.

Even if you have to spend your own cash outside of medical insurance before or during retirement, this is a time when preventive medicine can work its absolute best to keep you far away from a diagnosis like chronic metabolic syndrome, pre-diabetes, diabetes, back pain, heart disease and chronic pain.

Get back to how much you weighed when you felt your best! Learn and grow. Really live.

And if you can, take the family on a retirement vacation! Make this your health goal: to chase your grandchildren instead of sitting on the sidelines … in the disability section.

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