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Friday, March 15, 2013

Finally, 3 pieces of good news on the healthcare horizon

By Madeline Marshall

Recent events have made medical insurance more available
The cost of insurance is growing at a slower rate
It seems like we’re constantly assaulted with bad news these days, between the economy, the environment, and everything in between. There’s a bright spot on the horizon, however, and it’s in a sector you might not have guessed: health care. Here are 3 uplifting facts about where health insurance stands today.

1. Increases in health insurance rates are slowing down

Health insurance rates have skyrocketed in recent years. The cost of premiums has doubled in the last decade, leaving both employers and employees struggling to pay the higher bills. In 2011 alone, premiums jumped up 9.5%. This year, however, things seem to be slowing down. 

Health insurance costs have risen only 4.5% this year, and while that’s still an unwanted bump, it’s nevertheless a good sign to see the rate of growth decreasing. This is welcome relief in an economic climate in which wages are falling and the specter of unemployment haunts so many—it’s nice to see we may not have to worry about rising health care costs on top of all that.

2. More coverage, especially for youth

When the recession hit, health insurance coverage rates plummeted dramatically. This is largely due to the fact that most people get their health insurance through their employer, so as people got laid off from their jobs and the unemployment rate went up, they lost access to their health care. Between 2008 and 2010, the number of uninsured Americans steadily increased every year. In 2011, however, this number actually decreased. In fact, it was the largest decline of uninsured people since the CDC began keeping track of this information in 1997.

Part of this is due to the fact that young adults under the age of 26 can now stay on their parents’ health insurance plan, regardless of their educational status (before, children would have to either be under 19 or enrolled in college to be eligible). This has been a godsend to young people who have struggled to find any kind of job in today’s economy, not to mention one that offers decent health insurance. While rates of uninsured Americans remain higher now than they were before the recession, it’s comforting to see that the numbers are headed in the right direction.

3. Health care jobs on the rise

While most of the job market has struggled in recent years, health care is one of the few sectors that have actually seen growth. While all jobs in the United States are expected to grow 14% over the next decade, the health care field is expected to see an impressive 25% increase. In fact, certain careers, such as medical assisting, are expected to grow even more, coming in at a projected 31% according to the BLS.gov

Many factors are driving this growth, including an aging baby boomer population and the trend toward cutting costs by delegating tasks, including basic patient care and clerical duties, to lower-level employees. If you’re interested in the health care field, whether you want to become a doctor or simply attend one of many great medical assistant schools now is the time.

About the author: Madeline Marshall is a freelance writer who has written extensively on medical assisting training and other medical related college degree programs.

Image license: US-PDGov