Savvy Shoppers

Savvy ShoppersThat same idea of scrutinizing the role of hospital prices and bringing the art of savvy shopper to play in selecting premium care could help shake up the hospital industry and foster competition not only across regions, but foreign borders as well. Even though hospitals probably won’t be flashing their prices on roadside billboards anytime soon, the recent public release of Medicare charges is a step toward exposing the secretive nature of costs and one that might provoke employers to see beyond borders to reduce their healthcare costs.

Employers then entertaining the thought of sending their employees overseas to cut into the cost of their medical offerings should look no further than their lunchrooms for confirmation. In case they did not know, they already have an employee base from which to work from.

In fact, minority and ethnic populations are growing at such a rate that they will soon become a majority designation. From Asians and Latin Americans to Pacific Islanders and natives of the Middle East, diverse groups of people and their descendants not only live in the United States, but work here as well.

Immigrants account for more than 35 percent of workers in the farming and custodial/building maintenance industries. Nearly 30 percent are construction workers. The manufacturing and food service industries combine to fill more than 20 percent of their workforce with foreign-born employees.7

But, don’t get the wrong idea. Not all foreign-born workers are employed in low-paying, low-skilled occupations, either. The Migration Policy Institute study found that 19 percent of immigrant workers are employed in professional industries including professional services, education and healthcare.8

More than half of the growth in the total population of the United States between 2000 and 2010 was due to an increase in the Hispanic population. In 2010, there were 50.5 million Hispanics in the United States – or 16 percent of the population – rising from 30.5 million at the turn of the millennium when this group made up 13 percent of the total population. The growth of some 15.2 million during this period accounted for more than half of the 27.3 increase in the total population in the United States.9

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