In the 2010s, the way Americans consume health care has evolved significantly. While some of these system-wide changes clearly stem from the regulations associated with the Affordable Care Act, others have resulted from technological advances. Here are some of the new trends.
Increased Cost and Deductibles Health care costs are increasing to the extent that one-third of Americans report postponing medical treatment for themselves or for family members. That’s a staggering and worrisome figure. In the face of these higher prices, more consumers are opting for insurance plans with higher deductibles in hopes that they won’t need medical treatment.
Opportunities for Receiving Medical Care at Home Consumers can receive medical care in their home through two methods: telemedicine and doctors’ house calls. Some insurers are now covering telemedicine services, which involves accessing medical attention from home 24/7 at a rate that is much lower than what a doctor’s office visit would cost. Old-fashioned doctors’ house calls, the other option, are also seeing a revival in certain parts of the country.
Wearable Medical Technology Some companies are making wearable devices that aid in the prevention and treatment of specific diseases. The devices can detect seizures in patients with epilepsy as well as help fight diabetes and cardiovascular disease. This industry has enormous potential; Soreon Research reports it will be worth $41 billion annually by 2020.
Increased Medical ID Theft Technology improves health care, but it’s a double-edged sword. It also creates and worsens problems like medical ID theft. This robbery involves stealing health insurance information and Social Security numbers to obtain medical treatment. Victims sometimes have to spend thousands of dollars to rectify their records and restore their credit.
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