• The United States has a primarily private healthcare system where patients can purchase services from any provider they like.
• The issue with this system is that patients typically don’t know how much they will spend until after services are rendered.
• Patients are then sent a bill months later which can be hard to pay if they have already budgeted their money.
The cost of healthcare is a major concern not only in the United States, but around the world. In the United States, our healthcare system is primarily private, meaning that individuals can purchase services from any provider they like. However, the issue with this system is that patients typically do not know how much they will pay for services until after they have received them. This can present a major financial burden, as patients are then sent a bill months later that they may not have the money to pay.
When an individual visits the doctor’s office, they usually hand over their health insurance card and pay a copay. However, most patients don’t understand what a copay or coinsurance is and how it works. All they know is that they hand over a card, pay a nominal fee, and receive services. After services are rendered, the doctor’s office sends a claim to the health insurance company to be paid out, and the patient must pay the remainder if there is a balance. This is a major issue as not only do patients receive a surprise bill that has yet to be budgeted for, but healthcare providers are also having difficulty finding qualified staff to manage the paperwork associated with billing.
In order to alleviate some of the financial burden, many countries have adopted a socialized healthcare system where the government pays for healthcare services on a sliding scale. This system allows the government to subsidize healthcare services for the poor and the elderly, while still allowing the private market to operate.
It is important to recognize that access to healthcare is essential to long-term health. However, patients should not be faced with surprise bills that can be hard to pay if they have already budgeted their money. The United States should consider implementing policies to make healthcare more affordable and accessible to all.