Today the cost of health for each health-insured employee in the U.S. is $10,743. In 10 years, the cost will nearly triple to $28,530, if the status quo continues.

The status quo here is a 10.2% average annual rate of health cost increase, which was the rate experienced between 2001 and 2009.

Hewitt has worked with the Business Roundtable analyzing the ‘costs of inaction’ relating to health reform. They asked the unthinkable question: ‘what if the U.S. does nothing to change the health system?”

The report bears the yin/yang title, The Perils of Inaction and the Promise of Effective Action, with the hopeful message that the cost curve can be bent…if several steps are taken together.

The peril of not addressing reforms: there would be $56 billion of uncompensated care borne by employers and other payors of health care. These would inevitably hit the insured employees, resulting in a breakdown in America’s employer-sponsored health system.

At current health plan inflation, health spending would hit $4.4 trillion equal to 20% of the U.S. GDP.

Health Populi’s Hot Points: The solution is several-fold:

  • Get more value for money from health spending
  • Achieve universal health insurance coverage cut administrative expenses
  • Expand the adoption health information technology
  • Promote patient-centered medical homes for health citizens
  • Reform medical liability.

Another recommendation in the report is usually overlooked: improving personal financial health for health citizens. The report points out that health costs are a leading cause of bankruptcy in the U.S. due to catastrophic expenses. “In our consumer-based economy, money spent on health care becomes money not spent on other goods and services,” Hewitt and the Business Roundtable say. This is a Health Populi mantra: gas, food, health care. The Edelman Health Engagement Barometer found that financial health is part of a health citizen’s overall perception of their health and wellness.

For Americans, health spending is a growing proportion of household budgets. This cost component will be a growing component that impacts peoples’ fiscal, physical, and spiritual health.