Patient Payment Responsibility Increases 11% in 2017
New TransUnion Healthcare analysis finds patients continue to see rising costs
A new TransUnion Healthcare (NYSE:TRU) analysis revealed that patients experienced an 11% increase in average out-of-pocket costs during 2017, rising from $1,630 in Q4 2016 to $1,813 in Q4 2017. The analysis also revealed that in 2017, on average, 49% of patient out-of-pocket costs per healthcare visit were below $500; 39% were $501-$1,000; and 12% were more than $1,000.
The results were released today at the 2018 HIMSS Conference, a leading health information and technology conference, where TransUnion’s Jonathan Wiik is presenting findings from his new book, “Healthcare Revolution: The Patient Is the New Payer.” The book explores how the financing and delivery of healthcare has been impacted by major shifts in coverage, payments and legislation.
“Increasing healthcare costs and patient responsibility is a continuing trend that does not seem to be slowing anytime in the near future,” said Wiik, principal of healthcare strategy at TransUnion Healthcare. “Given the increased payment responsibility, being able to determine a patients’ ability to pay is increasingly important for hospitals. In order to allow patients to focus on getting the care they need, healthcare providers need processes and tools in place to help patients meet their financial obligations and to establish funding mechanisms that will benefit both the patient and provider.”
The need is supported by a 2016 Federal Reserve Economic Report of household income, which found 35% of adults would be unable to make all of their other bill payments in full if faced with a $400 emergency.
TransUnion Healthcare’s analysis also found that costs for major procedures are not abating. Medical specialties with the highest out-of-pocket cost estimates for patients, included: Orthopedics ($1,663), Plastic Surgery ($1,566), Urology ($1,415) and Neurology ($1,241), all of which are above the $1,000 average across all specialties in Q4 2017.
With millions of dollars of unpaid medical bills, many hospitals are instituting processes to protect their revenue. TransUnion Healthcare’s insurance discovery solutions have helped hospitals, health systems and physician offices recover insurance payments, which previously would have been categorized as bad debt or charity care.
Transunion Healthcare also works with hospitals to stratify their bad debt portfolio through its Financial Clearinghouse suite of solutions, which determine charity eligibility, ability and likelihood (propensity) to pay.
“There’s been an uptick in employing third party revenue cycle solutions because more and more healthcare providers are finding that patients simply cannot absorb growing medical costs. Hospitals are making patient financial engagement a priority, and focusing on engaging their patients early to optimize collections in order to protect the providers’ earned revenue,” said Wiik.
The TransUnion Healthcare analysis includes anonymous data estimates from thousands of providers, including hospitals and healthcare clinics from across the nation. The data points focus on patient payment responsibilities for key, commonly administered procedures.
For additional information about TransUnion Healthcare research, please click here.
About TransUnion Healthcare
TransUnion Healthcare, a wholly owned subsidiary of credit and information management company TransUnion, is a trusted provider of revenue cycle management solutions for maximizing reimbursement, improving patient engagement, and ultimately increasing the effectiveness of the healthcare system. We deliver this by leveraging our data assets, market-leading revenue cycle management technologies, and deep insights into consumer financial behavior, to help providers reduce uncompensated care and improve cash flow with one of the most patient-centric revenue cycle management systems on the market today. www.transunionhealthcare.com
About TransUnion (NYSE: TRU)
Information is a powerful thing. At TransUnion, we realize that. We are dedicated to finding innovative ways information can be used to help individuals make better and smarter decisions. We help uncover unique stories, trends and insights behind each data point, using historical information as well as alternative data sources. This allows a variety of markets and businesses to better manage risk and consumers to better manage their credit, personal information and identity. Today, TransUnion has a global presence in more than 30 countries and a leading presence in several international markets across North America, Africa, Latin America and Asia. Through the power of information, TransUnion is working to build stronger economies and families and safer communities worldwide.
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