High-deductible plans leave providers struggling to collect from patients

Physicians, hospitals and medical labs are facing greater challenges in getting paid by insured patients with high-deductible health plans, according to a Bloomberg report.

Patients have increasingly taken on more financial responsibility for their care. A Kaiser Family Foundation report published earlier this year found a 22 percent increase in the number of workers with high-deductible health plans since 2009, with half of U.S. employees now purchasing them.

As patients grapple with higher out-of-pocket costs, healthcare providers struggle more to collect reimbursement from them, according to the report.

"It's harder to collect from the patient than it is from the insurance," Amy Derick, MD, who heads Derick Dermatology practice with locations throughout the Chicago area, told Bloomberg. "If the plans change to a higher deductible, it's harder to get the patients to pay."

High deductibles also present additional challenges for healthcare providers — who are already navigating medical records, billing systems and insurance companies as part of the billing process — because they must take extra steps to ensure they consistently have the latest information on patients' deductibles, the report states.

But healthcare providers are making efforts to overcome these challenges. For example, Bloomberg reported New Hyde Park, N.Y.-based Northwell Health has been implementing call centers and facilities where patients can gain a better understanding of their out-of-pocket costs.

Access Bloomberg's full report here.


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