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Advances in Medical Technology Identified as a Primary Driver of Increased Costs
Date:6/4/2009

Institute releases report on health care costs

ATLANTA, June 4 /PRNewswire/ -- A recent report issued by the WellPoint Institute of Health Care Knowledge revealed some startling facts about health care costs in America. The report identified the primary drivers of increased health care services and health insurance premiums, dispelling the notion that insurer profits are the primary drivers spiking costs.

The May 2009 Institute report, titled "What's Really Driving the Increase in Health Care Premiums?," compiles research from sources such as PricewaterhouseCoopers, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Congressional Budget Office.

"The current rate of increase of health care costs is unsustainable," said Monye Connolly, President of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia (BCBSGA). "We have to address the key drivers of health care costs to be able to lower premiums and increase access to health care for all members of the communities we serve," Connolly added.

According to the report the "key drivers" of spiraling U.S. health care costs are:

  • Advances in medical technology and subsequent increases in utilization.
  • Price inflation for medical services that exceeds inflation in other sectors of the economy.
  • Cost-shifting from people who are uninsured and those receiving Medicare and Medicaid to the private sector.
  • High cost of regulatory compliance.
  • Patient lifestyles, such as physical inactivity and increases in obesity.

Citing research from PricewaterhouseCoopers' December 2008 report, The Factors Fueling Rising Health Care Costs, the report also debunks a commonly held belief about the profitability of health insurance companies. Contrary to public opini
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SOURCE Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia
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