Inequities could cost healthcare system $1 trillion annually by 2040: Deloitte

Inequities currently account for $320 billion in healthcare spending annually, and that figure could grow to $1 trillion by 2040 if not addressed, according to a June 22 report from Deloitte. 

Annual healthcare costs for the average American could reach $3,000 by 2040 — up from $1,000 today — if those inequities are left unaddressed, according to the report. 

"Inequities across the U.S. health system limit underserved people's access to affordable, high-quality care, create avoidable costs and financial waste that span society, and impact every individual's potential to achieve health and well-being," Deloitte stated in the report. 

Deloitte's acturial team developed a model to quantify the link between healthcare spending and health inequities related to race, socioeconomic status and sex/gender, according to the report. The actuaries analyzed several high-cost diseases — such as diabetes, asthma and cardiovascular disease — determined the proportion of spending that could be attributed to health inequities today, and trended the spending to 2040, while accounting for changes in population and per capita spending.

Deloitte said in the report that healthcare stakeholders — which include health systems, payers, government entities, community organizers and health tech companies — should take action on health inequities now to mitigate future challenges. 

Suggested actions include rebuilding trust with people and communities intentionally by understanding needs, improving experiences, and building a more diverse and inclusive workforce. Stakeholders should also work to eliminate barriers to care at the individual and community level, such as health and digital literacy and care infrastructure. Stakeholders should also develop ways to measure progress in addressing health inequities.   

Read the full report here

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