Few industries can boast true economic immunity, but the health care sector seems to be an exception. A recent explosion in health care demand is making paratransit, ambulance, and non-emergency medical transportation businesses especially lucrative fields – and demand shows no signs of slowing.
The Baby Boomer Effect
As the first wave of baby boomers begins to retire, they are also experiencing an increasing need for medical attention. Over the next couple of decades, the health care industry will absorb the needs of 78 million rapidly aging boomers. As medical technology increases, this group of elderly people will live longer – and have more options for medical care – than any other generation in past history. From emergency treatment for bone fractures and heart attacks to the need for routine procedures like medical diagnostics and doctor appointments, this aging generation will need frequent transportation to hospitals and medical offices. Savvy medical transportation businesses will be prepared to provide this.
In most industries, advancing technology lowers costs for the consumer. It’s just the opposite in the non-emergency medical transportation business. In spite of ongoing economic woes, national healthcare spending rose to more than 17 percent of the GDP in 2009, according to Medicare actuaries. That’s up from just 9 percent of GDP in 1980. As medical innovations bring about new treatments, diagnostic tools, and powerful medicines (intended to prevent diseases, treat chronic conditions, and extend lives), consumers of all ages will inevitably spend more on non-emergency health care. Despite the President Obama health care reform, Americans are still choosing to pay $363 billion annually for out-of-pocket costs such as ambulance services, according to a report by the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions. That comes out to approximately $1,355 per person.
Death, Taxes, and the Doctor
Like death and taxes, injuries and illness are an unfortunate but inescapable part of life no matter what our age. Trends, technology, and even government regulations will change, but the need for medical care will not. Unlike most areas of the health care industry, buying a medical transportation company doesn’t require medical skill or training. For an investment to be successful, however, it helps to have a strong business sense and a desire to learn. It also helps to verify the company you are buying has potential for profit. With some careful research and an independent business valuation, it’s possible to enter one of those rare industries that may pay off during good and bad economic times.