The year 2020 brought with it some serious challenges for the healthcare industry, but what can we anticipate for 2021? You can expect to see exciting new and continued trends in 2021, including the following.
Virtual Care and Telemedicine
While telemedicine has been around for years, 2020 saw an explosion in virtual healthcare stemming from the coronavirus pandemic. In an effort to curb the spread of the virus, healthcare practitioners have been offering telemedicine services to patients. In some cases, telemedicine is an option, while for other physicians, it’s been the only method of communication and care during the health crisis.
Telemedicine will continue to be an ongoing trend throughout 2021 while the pandemic is still in effect, and will likely be a mainstay long after the crisis is over. By 2023, it’s expected there will be roughly 64 million telemedicine users, a figure that is triple what we saw in 2019.
Increase in Costs For Prescription Medication
The price for prescription drugs has long been on the rise, and 2021 will not see that change. In 2020, drug makers boosted prices on hundreds of prescription medications by an average of 5.1 percent, with the cost of popular brand name medications increasing by as much as 7 percent or more.
It’s standard practice for pharmaceutical companies to spike drug prices at the start of each new year, and it’s expected that 2021 will see the same price hikes as in previous years. Americans will have to budget for the increased costs of medications required, or find a healthcare plan that can help them cover these costs.
Increase in Retail Clinics
Consumers have noticed the presence of medical clinics while shopping in major retail centers and department stores, in addition to other services like dry cleaners and studio photography. Referred to as “retail clinics,” these medical facilities are incorporated into large retail stores, helping to provide consumers with a one-stop-shop for all their needs in one trip, including medical care.
Retail clinics have been popping up all over the nation, and 2021 will likely see a continued increase in the number of these facilities. Not only does the location of retail clinics offer convenience to patients, but the prices charged for medical care at these facilities tend to be lower than those associated with traditional medical clinics. The average cost for a doctor’s appointment at a conventional physician’s office is $166 for insured patients, while retail clinic appointments average $110 per appointment.
While health insurance plans can help cover the cost of doctor’s appointments and medication, plan premiums and deductibles have been spiking, making it increasingly difficult to budget for medical care. Luckily, there are other alternatives to traditional insurance policies, including health sharing ministries.
If you’re looking for an alternative way to help pay for your medical expenses while being a part of something that is helping others out, a health care sharing plan may be right for you. At USHealthShare, we can provide information on a variety of programs to suit every need and budget. Members of health sharing ministries can take advantage of more affordability and flexibility compared to insurance plans. Bills for retail clinic medical visits can be submitted as eligible medical expenses with a health share membership and prescription medications can be easily filled through the health sharing ministry’s partnership pharmacy network. Plus, members can take advantage of unlimited telemedicine visits.
If you’re looking for a more flexible and cost-effective way to manage the expense of healthcare in 2021, you might find what you need with a health sharing membership. Contact USHealthShare to discuss your options today and learn exactly how health sharing saves money.