Most of us are shielded from the heavy burden of the full cost of medical procedures, treatments and drugs. That's because employers spend, on average, five times more than employees do for health care.
The costs of the latest technologies, new medicines and advanced hospital care are at an all-time high, and national health care costs are expected to nearly double over the next 10 years. For employers, the cost of health insurance is on a steady upward path. From 2001 to 2002, premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance increased by an average of almost 13 percent. In this sluggish economy, businesses are struggling to pay for the steep increase in insurance premiums and some are looking to employees to assume a greater responsibility.
Fortunately, there are simple things we can all do to help keep health care affordable. As consumers, we should discuss all treatment options with our doctors. Ask if a generic drug is available when we need prescription medicine. Carefully review our doctor and hospital bills and ask for explanations of charges that we don't understand. Working together, we can help control the rise of health care costs, which in turn will keep our own costs down.