Healthcare Statistics, Part II: High Deductible Plans Threaten the Bottom Line of Healthcare Facilities

Apex Revenue Technologies

A year ago, the Medical Debt Collection Task Force shared the Best Practices for Resolution of Medical Accounts report, revealing that most patients want to pay off their medical balances in a responsible manner. That report encourages all financial communications to be clear, concise, correct and patient friendly. However, without employing new, innovative techniques, even the clearest communication won’t solve the problem of low collection rates and their impact on the bottom line of healthcare facilities:

In 2013, there was a 78 percent increase of covered workers enrolled in a plan with a general annual deductible. Additionally, more than 58 percent of workers covered at small firms (3-199 employees) had a deductible of $1,000 or more.

Impact: Since 2008, budgets have become increasingly tight, making high deductible plans appealing to employers and individuals with limited incomes. These plans have patients paying more out of pocket expenses for healthcare services. As a result, fewer people seek treatment because they cannot afford the upfront cost, thereby decreasing hospital revenue from services rendered. Because their medical needs are not being addressed, these patients may find themselves in urgent care. However, many are still unable to cover the costs of their emergency room visit, making collections difficult.

Apex solution: This healthcare statistic provides some insight on the difficult problem of unpaid balances. To reduce balances forwarded to collections agencies, Apex suggests that healthcare providers change the way they communicate with patients and approach statement presentment more strategically. Through new innovative approaches, statements should communicate with patients on a personal level, deliver messages that encourage understanding, and support patients’ interest in making payments.

This post is the second in a series of three that aims to evaluate today’s healthcare statistics and their impact on facility operations:

Part I: 

Part III: