Effects of Aging and Population Growth on Health Care costs in the U.S.A

Effects of Aging and Population Growth on Health Care costs in the U.S.A

Introduction

In the United States, access to health care for all is one of the key components in ensuring a disease-free nation.  A number of factors affect health care cost. These include population size, disease prevalence, service price and utilization, and the demographics of the older generation.

Effects of population growth on health care cost

The United States of America has recorded quite a significant increase in its population. This has led to increased health care cost. In 2010 and 2011, the population increased by 2.3 million people. According to the Census Bureau, the country has a total population of 327.16 million people. These people constantly need medical check-ups and treatment. Presently, health care cost accounts for one-third of the total economy. This reflects the high utilization rate of health care facilities.

Immigration and high growth rates of the minority groups such as Asians and those of Hispanic origin are rapidly increasing the population in America. Leading to an increase in demand for health care services and more trained health professionals who can attend to all the patients. The increased demand has directly affected health care cost as more funds are spent on health facilities, nurses and medical products.

Increase in population increases disease prevalence rate as the communicable disease spread fast in densely populated areas. Presence of a high number of infants also calls for better and more efficient ways to prevent mortality among children. This leads to higher utilization of health care facilities and raises total health care costs

Effects of aging on health care cost

America also has a high number of people aged above 65, this increases health care cost.  In 2015, 47.8% of the total population was 65 years and above. People with age have a weaker immune system and a higher mortality rate. They have to frequently seek medical attention. According to JAMA report, diseases such as cancer, cerebral hemorrhage, diabetes, and heart diseases accounted for 44% of deaths of people aged 45 and below and 65% of people aged 45 and above between 1934 and 1936.

High population growth increases the number of aging people. This has a direct effect on the cost of health care as there is more need for medication and professionals with expertise in handling and treating old people. There is also a need for long term services as they are frequently attacked by chronic illnesses.

People aged above 85 are prone to diseases. Most of them have to live in nursing homes or hire personal nurses to take care of them. They need medical care and assistance in their daily activities. In 1900 only 4.1% of Americans were above 65 years. Better health facilities and improved lifestyles have majorly contributed to an increase in the lifespan.

Presently there are between 1.5 to 1.8 people in the United States who live in nursing homes, under the care of guardians. High amounts of money are spent on their upkeep and medical bills. In America, the cost of treating people above 65 years is higher compared to other demographics.

JAMA report indicated that the expenditure on health care increased by $933.5m between 1996 and 2013. This is because of increase in population and a high number of the older generation. Data Watch also estimated the effect of aging and population growth on the health care cost per individual. According to them, most of the money is spent on purchasing drugs, health care, and medical products.

Conclusion

In conclusion, aging and population growth has played a crucial role in increasing health care costs in the United States of America. With a population of 327.16 million people. Most of them aged above 65 years. The health sector is utilized more by all and particularly the aged who have a weaker immune system and a higher mortality rate. This leads to an increase in total health care cost.

References

Getzen, T. E. (1992). Population aging and the growth of health expenditures. Journal of Gerontology, 47(3), S98-S104.

Reinhardt, U. E. (2003). Does the aging of the population really drive the demand for health care?. Health Affairs, 22(6), 27-39.

Mendelson, D. N., & Schwartz, W. B. (1993). The effects of aging and population growth on health care costs. Health Affairs, 12(1), 119-125.

Lloyd-Sherlock, P. (2000). Population aging in developed and developing regions: implications for health policy. Social science & medicine, 51(6), 887-895.