A new model by Deloitte reveals a pending financial and health crisis if nothing is done to address the skyrocketing cost of health inequities.
Actuaries at Deloitte examined high-cost diseases, such as breast cancer, diabetes, and asthma, and determined the proportion of spending based on current health inequities. They then trended spending to 2040, accounting for changes in population and per capita spending.
They determined that health inequities currently cost $320 billion in annual health care spending and may exceed $1 trillion in the next 20 years if the country doesn’t do anything to tackle social determinants of health (SDoH), wrote the Deloitte team in an insights article.
“If the United States reaches this threshold, we could see a direct impact on affordability, quality, and access to care beyond the challenges that already exist,” they wrote. “The projected rise in health care spending could cost the average American at least $3,000 annually, up from today’s cost of $1,000 per year. And the increase in spending likely would have a greater impact on historically underserved populations.”
To help move the needle to a more equitable health care system, the Deloitte team suggest the following actions:
Prioritize equity in business decisions to build prevention and delivery systems that aim to serve everyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, and socio-economic status.
Establish cross-sector partnerships to work on initiatives to address the root causes of health inequities.
Measure progress via data collection, key performance indicators, and ongoing evaluation.
Remove barriers to care, such as health and digital literacy and care infrastructure, by investing in data, technology, and public health at the federal, state, and local levels.
Rebuild trust with people and communities by better understanding population needs, improving experiences, and building a more diverse and inclusive workforce.