Due to reasons including but not limited to employers seeking ways to cut down on the cost of benefits, healthcare plans with huge deductibles and, as a consequence patient financial responsibility, are increasing. Hospitals and health systems which are accustomed to negotiating with insurance companies to receive most of the payment for services rendered are now dealing with a new payer group: consumers.
Here are a few things to be aware of regarding how consumer financial obligation affects providers’ and hospitals’ collection efforts as well as a patient being able to pay.
According to a “Trends in Healthcare Payments Fifth Annual Report” from 2014, the number of consumer payments to healthcare providers skyrocketed to nearly 200 percent during the period of 2011 to 2014. Additionally, a survey by Availity showed that in 2014, hospitals reported fewer than 35 percent of patients had the means to pay the entire amount requested at the point of service.
Collection efforts often run into roadblocks, which forces hospitals to take on bad debt. Per the American Hospital Association, all kinds of hospitals have provided just over $500 billion in care that has gone uncompensated.
One area that most provider facilities and physician practices see eye to eye on is the importance of collecting from patients prior to them leaving the business, according to another Availity report titled “The Impact of Consumerism on Provider Revenues”. Providers also largely agree when it comes to the difficulty of collecting once patients have left the office: more than eighty percent report collecting patient financial responsibility after a visit is not an easy task, per the Availity report.
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This update is by Medical Accounts Systems, a full-service healthcare revenue cycle management company providing a number of services including insurance follow up and managed care disputes, physician reimbursement, extended business office services, and more. For additional information on our services or for any questions you may have on topics such as hospital bad debt, please call 877-759-6315.