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The Future of Healthcare

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The Future of Healthcare
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Updated: 03/05/2012

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The world of healthcare is changing fast. If you’re wondering what’s in store for you in the next few years, you may be surprised at the possibilities.

Better Insurance Coverage: President Obama’s healthcare reform act aims to make coverage more affordable and more comprehensive over the course of the next several years. While it’s possible this kind of sweeping reform may never go into effect because of litigation against it, the chances are good that reforms will take place little by little both at the federal and state level.

Fewer Doctors:Believe it or not, in the coming years, you may not always be able to see a doctor for routine appointments. In just the next four years, the US is projected to have 63,000 fewer doctors than required, and most of that shortage will fall in the category of primary care. If you need a quick check up for your high blood pressure or you need someone to diagnose that ear infection, you’ll probably have to rely on a nurse practitioner or a physician’s assistant.

A Different Model: Right now, the healthcare model is a fairly simple one. There’s a cost for everything. If you see your doctor, you get charged. If you have a test run, you get charged again. If you go to the emergency room, there’s a charge again. It’s fee-for-service care, and there’s almost no incentive to change it. If the new healthcare reform act actually becomes a player though, doctors will be rewarded for better quality care, which means you may need fewer services. The only downside to this, though, is that if the model is poorly implemented, doctors may have to skimp on care just to make it.

The Get Healthier Requirement: Large companies may begin to offer you financial incentives to get a bit healthier in the coming years. Moreover, they may require you to do several things if you want the best possible insurance coverage. Among those requirements could be losing weight, dumping the cigarettes, and getting control of things like high blood pressure and cholesterol.

Seniors Will Be Dropped:Those who have retired by still get a health plan from their employers may be dropped from coverage because of healthcare reform. It will now be cheaper for employers to hand you money to buy a supplemental Medicare plan that it will be for them to purchase the full health plan for you. In the end, this could be a good thing, though, because Medicare coverage is increasing too.