Real Healthcare Costs Much Higher Than Anticipated
Despite the health care reform act that was passed a year ago, consumers spent $363 billion dollars in that period according to a recent Deloitte report. This is a 14.7 percent increase over the spending reported by official government counts, mostly due to the costs that fall outside of traditional health care spending. Government figures only took into account spending on doctor visits, prescriptions and health insurance fees. Discretionary spending, originally reported as 16.2, appears to be much higher at 19.9 percent according to the report. The average spending on housing and utilities is only 18.8 percent.
Supervisory care from friends and relatives made up the largest percentage of this extra spending. Alternative medicine, nutritional products and vitamin supplements also made up large percentages of additional spending. Some costs that should have been included in the government measures include ambulance services, mental health services and elderly housing. Together these three categories make up 15% of discretionary spending on health care.
With many Americans spending more on health care than they do on housing, the report hopes to shed light on real costs instead of the limited categories covered in government reports. The report is called “The Hidden Costs of U.S. Health Care for Consumers: A Comprehensive Analysis.” It provides clear information on exactly what consumers are choosing to spend money on outside of what insurance providers and Medicare covers. It outlines the additional financial burden that limited health coverage plans create. The more consumers spend on health care, the less extra money they have to put towards dining out, retail shopping and travel. The economy will continue to struggle if consumers can’t afford to support many industries that rely on discretionary spending.