Increasing Medical Costs Straining Americans’ Finances

Healthcare research organization the Kaiser Family Foundation released a series of new polls showing the in- creasing strain healthcare costs are placing on American families (article). In their recent surveys, 43% of adult respondents expressed difficulty with affording their deductibles, nearly 33% stated they had trouble affording their premiums, and 29% stated they are struggling with medical bills in general. All three numbers represent increased from 2015. The increasing strain as measured by Kaiser has resulted in, according to their study, more patients skipping recommended care or delaying initial treatment.

Reducing healthcare costs to combat this problem is the stated goal of the various reforms efforts coming from the Republican Party. However, like the ACA, these proposals are thin on details on this area as any effort to reduce costs will bring about stiff resistance from those who stand to lose, be it patients, doctors, pharmaceutical manufacturers, hospitals, or insurance companies.

In this environment of greater patient cost-sharing, a consistent and thorough policy on patients collections is more important than ever. To counter this trend, we advise providers to make sure they have clear protocols on collecting co-pays for every visit. We also recommend verifying patient benefits prior to providing expensive treatments or supplies, and collecting deductibles up front accordingly.

Brandon McCurdy