According to a research report published in early December, U.S. health care spending increased to $3.3 trillion in 2016, with out-of-pocket health care costs borne directly by consumers rising 3.9 percent – the fastest rate of growth since 2007.

Click here for the full research report

Published by the non-profit organization, Health Affairs, health expenditures swallowed a greater part of the economy, with health expenditures making up 17.9 percent share of gross domestic product in 2016.

A shift toward insurance plans that transfer more of the burden of health care costs onto patients helped fuel the rise in out-of-pocket costs. In 2016, 29 percent of people who receive insurance through employers were enrolled in high-deductible plans, up from 20 percent in 2014. The size of the deductibles also increased over this time period, a 12 percent increase in 2016 for individual plans, compared with a 7 percent increase in 2014.

Choosing independent health care providers can save you BIG money

As we have touted many times over the years, people who choose independent medical providers often enjoy considerable financial savings as compared to selecting a hospital or hospital-owned provider for the same services.

The major reason for the savings? It’s very simple. Hospitals and their affiliates (which include employed physicians) are the most expensive form of healthcare in the United States. From office visits to medical imaging to cancer care, data, research and numerous articles have been published to show this is true.

As early as 2014, in an article in Medical Economics, the author wrote “…hospitals are purchasing physician practices at a fast clip and, according to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, these practices are increasingly being converted into outpatient departments, which allows the hospital to be paid more for various services than does a freestanding physician’s office.”

So, as a consumer, what can you do? While we know the choice in a medical provider can be a very personal decision, many people have become educated and aware that for common healthcare services, choosing an independent physician, imaging organization, oncology clinic and lab services provider can be much more affordable WITHOUT a sacrifice in quality of care.

So, as we’ve also said many times, why pay more when you do not have to? Healthcare that is more expensive does not mean it is better. Often, it’s just means you have to potentially pay more — much more.

Choose independent and save. In the arena of screening and diagnostic testing, choose Diagnostic Imaging Services, the largest independently-owned imaging provider in Louisiana.

DIS. Doctor trusted. Patient preferred.