Cost Factors - Technology

Developments in medical technology have revolutionized the health care industry. Medical technology encompasses all aspects of medicine: equipment, drugs, surgeries and more. These advances give us early diagnoses, less intrusive procedures and better outcomes.

However, state-of-the-art technology comes with a huge price tag. While some studies indicate that consumers are willing to pay the price for technology, health care providers still have the responsibility to make sure it is used in a cost-effective, appropriate manner.

For example, technology has given us many ways to see inside our bodies: X-ray, CAT, MRI and PET scans are popular forms of radiology and imaging. Each new generation of technology is better than the last. But is the latest technology always the best one to diagnosis a certain condition? Can a simple chest X-ray still tell a doctor what he needs to know, or is a more sophisticated CAT or PET scan required? If the X-ray can do the job, then that is the most cost-effective choice the doctor can make. On the other hand, if a CAT scan is the most effective, there might be no need to do an X-ray, too.

Another example involves technology and new drugs. It is not unusual for some of the new, so-called blockbuster drugs to cost as much as $1,000 per month. If 5,156 of our under age 65 members needed this drug, it would result in a more than $20 per month premium increase for every contract. That’s right – one drug for 1 percent of our members substantially raises premiums for everyone.

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