There’s no doubt 2021 continued to disrupt healthcare as the pandemic dragged on. These disruptions are driving an increase in already high healthcare costs. Concerned about COVID-19, many providers limited access to care while people delayed critical medical services and screenings. This led to diseases like cancer and chronic conditions being diagnosed later, resulting in more extensive and expensive treatments.  

The overall wellbeing of Americans took a hit during the pandemic as well, with more sedentary lifestyles, poor nutrition choices, and mental health stressors impacting our health. What’s more, those who were forced to postpone elective procedures during COVID-19 surges are now rescheduling them for the coming year, placing added strain on resources. Prescription drug prices are expected to keep going up as well, as they typically do every year.  

Combined, these pandemic-driven side effects mean that the costs of healthcare in 2022 will rise for insurance companies and consumers alike. Price Waterhouse Cooper’s Health Research Institute projects a 6.5% increase in total healthcare spending next year — exceeding the annual increases ranging from 5.5% to 5.7% pre-pandemic. 

All of which seem to indicate bad news for Americans facing steep cost hikes for healthcare in 2022. But there is reason to be optimistic. The pandemic has also spurred innovations in healthcare that can help drive down expenses. And consumers now have more choices for their healthcare, giving them more power to control costs. 

Once a novelty, telemedicine has become a mainstay of healthcare delivery during the pandemic. While allowing patients to receive care from the comfort of home, telehealth has made healthcare more affordable as well as accessible. And it looks like telemedicine is here to stay, with an expected 64 million uses by 2023. 

As Americans embrace telehealth, they’re also looking for alternatives to expensive traditional health insurance plans. One option that’s gaining traction is health sharing. Through innovative cost-sharing strategies, health sharing ministries have been able to reduce their members’ healthcare costs by as much as 40%. That includes connecting members to lower prices for their prescription drugs. 

Health sharing ministries have been at the forefront of telehealth as a way to improve access to care while lowering costs. Some health sharing ministries offer its members telehealth consults seven days a week with a board-certified physician who can even order labs and prescriptions all online — saving members the time and cost of in-person visits. 

Cost-saving innovations like these are among the many reasons more Americans are choosing health sharing ministries over the ever-rising costs of traditional health insurance plans. If you’re looking for ways to control healthcare costs in 2022 and beyond, take a closer look at health sharing ministries. You may find they’re just what the doctor ordered.