male fingertip a rocket on chart Data 'clocks' on a new website,,show how a myriad of costs will continue to skyrocket each yearuntil 2040 if no action is taken. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Advocacy groups under the umbrella West Health want people totake action on the health care cost crisis – “an AmericanEpidemic.” To drive home the point, West Health is providing clockson a new website,, that show how a myriad ofcosts will continue to skyrocket each year until 2040 if no actionis taken.

Some of the website's stats include the following:

  • In 2019, average premiums (employee and employer shares) andout-of-pocket costs for a family of two or more covered byemployer-sponsored insurance is $22,960 – and by 2040, the totalwill increase to $53,940 if no action is done.

“Medical bills strike more fear in the hearts of Americans thanserious illness… the very health and wealth of our nation and itspeople are at stake,” writes West Health's president and CEOShelley Lyford.

  • The U.S. currently spends $360 billion for prescription drugs,but by 2040, that cost will rise to $1.13 trillion.

“Food. Clothing. Rent. Utilities. Many Americans must make hardchoices to afford medications,” the website reads. “Even worse,almost one in five forgo needed prescription drugs due to cost.With drug companies charging higher and higher prices, fewerAmericans will be able to afford the drugs they need.”

  • Hospital prices have grown 600 percent since 1990.

“Going to the hospital can be a huge financial blow forAmericans,” the website reads. “Insurers, employers, and everydaypeople all feel the pain of rising healthcare prices, includinghospital stays, physician visits and prescription drugs. Unless weact now, we can expect the cost of a hospital stay to reach$135,000 by 2040.”

  • Employers are currently spending $810 million to supportemployee health care, but by 2040, that cost will rise to $2trillion – again, if no action is taken.

“As a business spends more and more for employee healthinsurance, less and less is left for investing in their company'sfuture,” the website reads. “It's no wonder Warren Buffett callshealthcare 'the tapeworm of the U.S. economy.'”

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Katie Kuehner-Hebert

Katie Kuehner-Hebert is a freelance writer based in Running Springs, Calif. She has more than three decades of journalism experience, with particular expertise in employee benefits and other human resource topics.