In this commentary for Barron’s, Cynthia Cox explores the impact to the American public as the U.S. health insurance system adjusts to the COVID-19 pandemic. She uses the experience of the past year and a half to raise questions about broader issues of fairness in the distribution of health care costs in the country.
The Peterson-KFF Health System Tracker provides clear, up-to-date information on trends, drivers and issues that impact the performance of the system. It also illustrates how the U.S. is performing relative to other countries and how different parts of the system are performing relative to one another. A partnership of the Peterson Center on Healthcare and the KFF, the Tracker’s work goal places a heavy emphasis on data and evidence, addressing key questions through collections of charts, which provide data with additional context and synthesis of the latest research and developments. The Tracker also provide regular insight briefs for a more in-depth look at topical questions.
Featured Peterson-KFF Resources
This updated analysis for the Peterson-KFF Health System Tracker estimates that the preventable costs of treating unvaccinated patients in hospitals total $3.7 billion in August, almost twice the estimates for June and July combined. The three-month total now stand at an estimated $5.7 billion.
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Related Peterson-KFF Resources
- National Health Spending Explorer
- COVID-19 continues to be a leading cause of death in the U.S. in August 2021
- Early 2021 Data Show No Rebound in Health Care Utilization
- Few Adults Are Aware of Hospital Price Transparency Requirements
- Early Results from Federal Price Transparency Rule Show Difficultly in Estimating the Cost of Care
- Surprise Bills Vary by Diagnosis and Type of Admission
- Health System Dashboard
- Household Health Spending Calculator
- What Do We Know About People with High Out-of-Pocket Spending?
- What Drives Health Spending in the U.S. Compared to Other Countries
- How does the quality of the U.S. health care system compare to other countries?
This analysis finds nearly three quarters of the largest health plans in each state are no longer waiving enrollees’ cost-sharing requirements for COVID-19 treatment as of August 2021. Insurers largely waived those costs early in the pandemic, before safe and effetive vaccines were available.
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Health spending growth has consistently outpaced U.S. economic growth and is higher than medical spending in other wealthy countries. Despite spending more, the United States doesn’t have better health outcome in terms of life expectancy, mortality rates and other measures. This brief provides an overview of trends in health costs and the performance of the U.S. health system, including comparisons to countries from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The brief charts growth in the nation’s per capita health spending along with the recent slowdown, touching on the roles of expanded Medicaid eligibility, increases in Medicare beneficiaries and the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Additionally, it discusses the health system’s effectiveness and capacity to provide services, including the accessibility and affordability of care.
This Kaiser Family Foundation analysis finds that for workers covered by their employer’s health plans, out-of-pocket costs including deductibles and coinsurance have been increasing significantly faster than costs paid by insurers, reflecting a decade-long trend toward slightly less generous coverage.
Compared to most similarly large and wealthy countries, the U.S. has fewer practicing physicians per capita but has a similar number of licensed nurses per capita. Looking specifically at the hospital setting, the U.S. has more hospital-based employees per capita than most other comparable countries, but nearly half of these hospital workers are non-clinical staff.
As the U.S. coronavirus outbreak spreads beyond densely populated metropolitan areas, a new KFF analysis finds that rural areas typically have fewer intensive care hospital resources than their urban counterparts, and populations at greater risk of developing serious illness and complications from COVID-19. While metro and non-metro areas have similar numbers of…