Virginia Consumer Healthcare Alliance

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The Virginia Healthcare Landscape

Does the Affordable Care Act need to be revised?

  • Supporters and opponents of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) agree there are significant issues with the ACA that will need to be addressed in 2017, given the outcome of the November elections, we are likely to see big changes.

Are healthcare costs rising beyond Virginians’ ability to pay their bills?

  • Healthcare costs and insurance premiums continue to rise, despite promises from Washington. In fact, the cost of health insurance provided through employers has risen faster than median incomes for the working-age population since 2003. Workers are paying more but getting less protective benefits.
  • The estimated annual healthcare costs for a family of four in 2016 is $25,826.
  • Just last year, healthcare costs in Virginia rose 8 percent. That is the ninth consecutive year of increases.
  • In 2003, average Virginia insurance deductibles were $500; by 2013 average deductibles rose to $1,173.

How many Virginians are uninsured and how does that affect insured Virginians?

  • Of Virginia’s more than 8 million residents, over 874,000 nonelderly individuals are uninsured.
  • Every insured Virginian pays additional costs to cover medical services for those individuals.
  • Moving forward, this is a major challenge facing the Commonwealth with the potential to negatively impact future economic growth and job creation if not addressed.

How easy will it be to get an appointment with a doctor in the future?

  • Virginia is experiencing a shortage of medical professionals that will only get worse in coming years. Virginia’s healthcare workforce is aging, and the number of training opportunities is not keeping pace with Virginia’s population growth. This means Virginians struggle to access medical care, especially specialty care, in a timely manner.
  • In 2014, Virginia had 256 active doctors per 100,000 people – which puts Virginia directly in the middle of all states nationally.
  • 27.6% of Virginia’s physicians are over the age of 60 – ranking Virginia in the bottom third nationally in physician workforce age.
  • As doctors in Virginia get older, the workforce issue will continue to grow. Currently, the state trains only 26 new doctors per 100,000 people per year – while the national average is 36 per 100,000.
  • Virginia ranks #26 in access to healthcare; as doctors get older and with fewer doctors to replace them, it will be harder to see the doctor.

Are these issues worse in certain parts of Virginia?

  • These problems are particularly challenging in more rural areas where a greater proportion of the population is uninsured and where it is more difficult to recruit medical professionals.
  • In rural Virginia, 14% of the population is uninsured – making them 19% more likely to be uninsured than their more urban counterparts.
  • This puts a severe financial strain on rural hospitals. One rural Virginia hospital has closed and many others are threatened.
  • These trends could leave many in Virginia with limited options and no timely access to critical healthcare services.