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Pulse Magazine

Pulse Magazine

News & Notes

Seminar: Duties of Data Furnishers Under the FCRA

If you furnish data for consumer reports, you know the importance of applying the Fair Credit Reporting Act to your current business practices. ACA International will offer a CORE Curriculum seminar May 10 to help you incorporate the FCRA and Regulation V into your Compliance Management System. Participants will also learn how to recognize alerts and respond to claims of identity theft and fraud. Register here: https://bit.ly/2pInq0t

Health Care Prices Reach Five-Year High

Health care prices in February increased by 2.2 percent compared to 2016 and 2 percent in January, the highest rate recorded since January 2012, according to the Altarum Institute’s latest Health Sector Economic Indicators report.  National health spending increased by 4.6 percent compared to 2016. Altarum also reports the health care sector experienced modest job growth during the first two months of this year. https://bit.ly/2pHptCe

 

Health Care Costs Continue to Impact Consumers’ Decisions to Seek Medical Treatment

 

A new national poll shows that the cost of health care continues to impact whether consumers seek recommended medical care or visit the doctor when they are sick or injured.  The survey, from NORC at the University of Chicago and the West Health Institute shows approximately 40 percent of respondents skip medical care and 44 percent said they didn’t go to the doctor when needed.

“The February survey of more than 1,300 adults offers new insights into how Americans feel about the costs of health care and how they report those costs affect their medical decisions and personal finances,” according to a news release from NORC at the University of Chicago, a nonpartisan research institution.

Other findings in the survey include:

About 30 percent of respondents reported that they had to decide between paying for medical bills or essentials such as food, heating or housing during the last year.

More people fear the medical bills that come with a serious illness over being sick (40 percent versus 33 percent, respectively.)

Respondents who said they skip recommended medical care were about two times more likely to fear getting sick (47 percent versus 24 percent, respectively) and the costs of care (60 percent versus 27 percent, respectively.)

“The high cost of health care has become a public health crisis that cuts across all ages as more Americans are delaying or going without recommended medical tests and treatments,” Zia Agha, chief medical officer at the West Health Institute, a nonprofit applied medical research organization based in San Diego, said in the news release. “According to this survey, most Americans do not feel they are getting a good value for their health care dollars, and the rising cost of health care is clearly having a direct consequence on American’s health-and financial well-being.”

Respondents to the survey also avoid medications due to the cost. “About one-in-three respondents report they did not fill a prescription or took less than the prescribed dose to save money. Dental care also suffered. Nearly half say they went without a routine cleaning or check up in the last year, and 39 percent say they did not go to the dentist when they needed treatment,” according to the news release.  They also experience financial consequences due to the cost of health care and medical bills are often unexpected.

Over half of survey respondents said they have serious financial consequences due to the costs of health care. The consequences include using all or most of their savings (36 percent); borrowing money or adding to their credit card debt (32 percent); and lowering contributions to a savings plan (41 percent.)  

Over half of survey respondents also said they received a medical bill for care they thought was paid for through their health insurance and a similar amount said they received bills at a higher amount than they expected. More than 25 percent of respondents said a medical bill was sent to a collection agency within the last year.  

ACA International members may find more information on health care collections and billing practices through ACA SearchPoint™ (https://www.acainternational.org/searchpoint) using the health care tag.

More information on the survey:  https://bit.ly/2GggwWK

Billing Tree Survey Reveals Top Challenges

  • April 24, 2018
  • Published in Billing

BillingTree, an ACA International member company in Phoenix, recently released the findings of its second annual Healthcare Operations and Technology Survey showing the impact of technology adoption in the industry, trends in patient payments and new challenges.

The biggest challenges facing providers were a patient’s inability to pay, collecting payments after leaving the facility and more, according to the survey.  Technology adoption continues to remain a key focus in the future. Over the next 12 months, 63 percent of respondents plan to implement a patient payment portal.

“Having collected industry data for two consecutive years, we can see significant trends starting to emerge. One key development is the priority placed on technology adoption,” Dave Yohe, BillingTree’s vice president of marketing said in the news release.  

To request a complimentary copy of the survey, visit: http://bit.ly/2GUNig3

 

Healthcare Spending Expected to Increase at Faster Rate than Gross Domestic Product

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Office of the Actuary projects growth in national health expenditures for 2017-2026 will be faster than the projected growth in the gross domestic product, according to a new report.  National health expenditure growth is expected to average 5.5 percent each year between 2017-2026.

“Growth in national health spending is projected to be faster than projected growth in (gross domestic product) by 1.0 percentage points over 2017-2026.  As a result, the report projects the health share of GDP to rise from 17.9 percent in 2016 to 19.7 percent by 2026,” according to CMS.  The prospects for national health spending and enrollment over the next 10 years are expected to be influenced primarily by key economic and demographic factors:

 

Trends in disposable personal income;

Increases in prices for medical goods and services; and

Shifts in enrollment from private health insurance to Medicare that result from the continued aging of the baby-boom generation into Medicare eligibility.

 

“[The] report from the independent CMS Office of the Actuary shows that healthcare spending is expected to continue growing more quickly than the rest of the economy,” CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in a news release. “This is yet another call to action for CMS to increase market competition and consumer choice within our programs to help control costs and ensure that our programs are available for future generations.”

Additional findings from the report, according to CMS, include:

Total national health spending growth: Growth is projected to have been 4.6 percent in 2017, up slightly from 4.3 percent growth in 2016, as a result of i) accelerating growth in Medicare spending, ii) slightly faster growth in prices for healthcare goods and services, and iii) increases in premiums for insurance purchased through the Marketplaces. In 2018, total health spending is projected to grow by 5.3 percent, driven partly by growth in personal healthcare prices.

Medicare: Among the major payers for healthcare over the 2017-2026 period, Medicare is projected to experience the most rapid annual growth at 7.4 percent, largely driven by enrollment growth and faster growth in utilization from recent near-historically low rates.

Private health insurance: Private health insurance spending is projected to average 4.7 percent over 2017- 2026, the slowest of the major payers, reflecting low enrollment growth and downward pressure on utilization growth influenced by: i) lagged impact of slowing growth in income in 2016 and 2017, ii) increasing prevalence of high-deductible health plans, and iii) to a lesser extent, repeal of the penalty associated with individual mandate.

Personal healthcare spending: Over 2017-2026, growth in personal healthcare spending is projected to average 5.5 percent. Among the factors, personal healthcare price growth is anticipated to be the largest factor at 2.5 percentage points, growth in the use and intensity of goods and services is expected to contribute 1.7 percentage points of total growth, and population growth (0.9 percentage point) and changing demographics (0.5 percentage point) account for the remaining growth.

Insured share of the population: The proportion of the population with health insurance is projected to decrease from 91.1 percent in 2016 to 89.3 percent in 2026, due in part to the elimination of the penalty payments associated with the individual mandate and also to a continuation of a downward trend in the offering and take-up of employer-sponsored health insurance.

More information: http://go.cms.gov/2HkbBEP

 

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