Patients and providers are both feeling the strain of high-deductible health insurance plans. Patients are responsible for more of their medical bills than ever before, and many people are struggling to make ends meet. For providers, it means that they are collecting from patients more than before, and this can be difficult when your patient does not have the income to cover their care. A recent report studied the negative impact that these high-deductible health plans have on patients today.
This report found that between 2008-2018, premiums for employer-sponsored insurance plans increased 55% – twice as fast as worker’s earnings. On top of that, the average deductible increased by more than 200%, with the average moving from $379 to more than $1,300. This combination has left many feeling overwhelmed by the financial strain of covering health costs. Many are going through drastic measures to make ends meet.
Here’s a few statistics from the report that reflect this:
- 25% of workers say that they or an immediate family member struggled to pay medical bills before meeting their deductible over the past year.
- 26% say that they cut back spending on food, clothing, & basic household items in the last year in order to be able to pay their medical bills.
- 33% report that they postponed needed care in the last year.
- 20% say they or an immediate family member struggled to pay surprise medical bills.
- 19% say they spent all or most of their savings to pay for care.
These statistics paint a harsh picture of the reality that many patients face today. Premiums have increased at double the rate of employee earnings, so patients are spending much more of their income on health insurance than in the past. Not only that, but because of the high deductibles, patients are responsible for more of their medical bills than ever before. 33% are even postponing needed care because they know they cannot afford to pay for it.
Impact For Providers
Providers need to understand the difficult circumstances that many patients are facing when it comes to their healthcare. The number one area where this impacts providers is patient collections. For years, providers have largely dealt with insurance companies. While collecting from insurance companies can also be difficult because of their strict requirements, they are also reliable. Collecting from patients who can’t afford their medical bills is nearly impossible.
Providers should be diligent about checking insurance eligibility as soon as an appointment is scheduled. Front desk staff should ask patients ahead of time exactly how they plan to pay the bill. Neither you nor the patient want to be surprised when it comes time to pay for their care. Go into every patient exam knowing who plans to pay for the costs, and it will save both you and your patients headaches down the line.
Streamline Revenue Cycle Workflows
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