MS news articles for March 2001
Health Costs Force Consumers into Cheaper Insurance Plans?
A government report
speculates that people will respond to escalating health-care costs by
opting for cheaper and more restrictive insurance plans -- a choice many
have so far shunned. The run-up in costs is largely due to higher prices
for prescription drugs, the Health Care Financing Administration says.
Americans spent $1.2
trillion on health care in 1999 -- 5.6 percent more than the previous year.
The spending, which
includes both the public and private sector -- and everything from doctors'
visits to hospital construction -- rose an estimated 8.3 percent in 2000
and is projected to increase 8.6 percent this year.
Such increases represent
a significant jump from the 1990s, when annual increases hovered around
6 percent -- but aren't expected to reach the double-digit annual growth
rates of the 1980s.
In 1999, spending on
prescription drugs jumped 17 percent -- to $100 billion.
During the next
four years, drug costs are expected to rise around 15 percent annually.
Jill Carroll, "Health
Spending Speeds Up on Costs of Prescribed Drugs," Wall Street Journal,
March 12, 2001;
et al., "Trends: Health Spending Growth Up In 1999;
Faster Growth Expected
In The Future," Health Affairs, March/April 2001.