In the 10-year period between 1999 and 2009, U.S. health care spending nearly doubled, climbing from $1.3 trillion to $2.5 trillion.

In 2009, while the rest of the U.S. economy plunged into a recession and millions lost their jobs, health care costs grew by 4 percent. As a result, the percentage of our nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) devoted to health care reached 17.6 percent (up from 13.8 percent only 10 years earlier).

The analysis compared the family’s health care cost burden in 1999 with the one that took place in 2009. The take-away message: Although family income grew throughout the decade, the financial benefits that most families might have realized were largely consumed by the increase in the cost of health care, leaving them with only $95 more per month than in 1999. Had health care costs tracked the rise in the Consumer Price Index (rather than outpacing it), an average American family would have had an additional $450 per month ­– more than $5,000 per year – to spend on other priorities.

Studies show that Americans spend more time researching car purchases and new appliances than they do when it comes to selecting doctors and health plans. Unlike buying an automobile or the newest appliance, choosing the correct physician and health plan to purchase are vital and literally life-saving decisions. Becoming wise health care consumers will impact their lives in the long run.
During this month of February, companies and corporations are encouraged to join the American Institute for Preventive Medicine in observing “Wise Health Care Consumer Month.” The Institute established this national health observance because it knows how well medical self-care and wise health care consumer programs work. Its goal is to help businesses in empowering their employees to understand available options, communicate with their care providers, and make educated decisions about their own health.

When exploring the best options for consumers or their loved ones in regard to health care, choosing the organization that offers top-notch service is key to becoming a wise health care consumer. Knowing effective and helpful tips on matters such as how to stay safe in particular weather conditions, nutrition and diet instructions for maintaining maximum wellness, advice relating to Medicare and Medicaid, and recovery guidelines based on a variety of illnesses – all play a crucial part in making informative health care decisions. Every consumer should be provided with this valuable information.

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Many questions arise when it comes to exploring health care options. Having the resources to make wise decisions are essential in maintaining a trusting and long-lasting relationship with a health care provider. One very important decision that consumers have to make is choosing between home health care or alternate living arrangements, such as Assisted Living or a Nursing Home, and which option will be best for all concerned – loved ones in need of care and other family members. Research shows that 40% of nursing home residents showed signs of depression and 80% of US adults over 50 say they prefer to remain at home as they age.

Starting the conversation with a loved one about home health care can be difficult, but executing the topic in a respectable way can make all the difference. Premier Home Health Care offers this guide,How to Start the Conversation in Your Family,” that includes signs to watch out for (e.g., changes in a loved one’s behavior, their living conditions, etc.) and suggestions on how to begin the discussion. Premier Home Health Care offers favorable options that meet the needs of our clients where we check, manage, train, and monitor all applicants (unlike gray-market businesses who shift these responsibilities to the client).

Managing care can be both difficult and time-consuming. The mission of the dedicated health care providers at Premier Home Health Care is to provide the most efficient and cost-effective ways to make the process easier for the individuals we work with. Learn more about health care consumerism, services we offer the community, tips on how to stay healthy – and what health care plan is beneficial for you or your family. To speak to us now about the Premier difference, please call 1-866-648-5119.