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Why Does Health Insurance Cost So Much?

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Why does health insurance cost so much? Year after year, many of the articles that appear in print detail the specific factors driving the cost of healthcare.

These factors include: general inflation, advances in drugs and other medical devices, rising hospital and doctor expenses, government mandates, increased consumer demand, litigation, fraud, and cost shifting.

The basic answer is that a magic bullet to solve the cost of insurance does not exist because the real difficulty is controlling the cost of healthcare. A simple way to dramatically decrease the dollars spent on healthcare is to reduce the demand for healthcare.

I have seen estimates that up to 40% of all healthcare related expenses result from preventable conditions. These preventable conditions are caused by lifestyle choices such as tobacco, obesity, stress, lack of exercise and poor diet.

Most of us, myself included, make lifestyle choices everyday that eventually increase our demand for healthcare. We are never going to be able to totally eliminate all lifestyle related healthcare costs. However, improved lifestyle choices would cause a dramatic reduction in demand. This would then result in a similar reduction in the dollars spent on healthcare.

Lower demand for healthcare would result in lower health insurance costs, increased productivity, and reduced absenteeism. If your organization has not done so already, your organizational leaders need to seriously consider the benefits of health promotion and disease prevention programs. Your return on investment will most likely be as high as 2:1 in the first year.

Michael Ertel is the President of Ertel & Company, Inc. and has over 15 years of experience in the health insurance business. He is the founder of MedicalInsuranceNow.com which is an internet based service that assists individuals, families, and small business owners by providing side by side comparisons of health insurance alternatives and the convenience of applying for health coverage online.


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