Analysis: 68% of patients with bills of $500 or less didn't pay full statement in 2016

An increasing number of patients fail to pay their full hospital bills, according to a TransUnion Healthcare analysis.

TransUnion said the analysis includes data from hundreds of thousands of patient files from several hospitals nationwide.

The analysis found a vast majority (approximately 68 percent) of patients with bills of $500 or less did not pay the full statement balance during 2016. That's up from 53 percent in 2015 and 49 percent the year prior.

Additionally, 99 percent of patients with bills of $3,000 or more did not pay the full statement balance during 2016, and 85 percent of patients with bills of $500 to $1,000 did not pay the full statement balance during that time period, according to the analysis.

On the other hand, the number of patients who paid their hospital bills in part decreased from about 90 percent in 2015 to 77 percent in 2016, TransUnion said.

"There are many reasons why more patients are struggling to make their healthcare payments in full, the most prominent of which are higher deductibles and the increase in patient responsibility from 10 percent to 30 percent over the last few years," said Jonathan Wiik, author of Healthcare Revolution: The Patient is the New Payer, and also principal for healthcare revenue cycle management at TransUnion, in a news release. "This shift in healthcare payments has been taking place for well over a decade, but we are seeing more pronounced changes in how hospital bills are paid during just the last few years."

The analysis projects the percentage of patients failing to pay their bills in full will rise to 95 percent by 2020.

 

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