Patient payment responsibility spiked 13% in 2015

Patient financial responsibility has continued to increase, affecting how and when patients have paid their medical bills in the first quarter of 2016.

That finding comes from a new report by TransUnion which examined trends in patient financial responsibility in 2014-2015.

The report used anonymous data estimates from professionals at hospitals and healthcare clinics across the nation. That information was, in turn, compared with financial data gathered from TransUnion's proprietary Industry Insights Report.

Below are three study findings.

1. Between 2014 and 2015, patients experienced a 13 percent increase in both deductible and out-of-pocket expenses.  

2. Higher medical costs are affecting how consumers pay their medical bills. As of the first quarter of 2016, about 51 percent of patients said they owe more than $1,000 for healthcare services. About 77 percent of patients said they owe more than $500.

3. TransUnion developed a proprietary ratio to measure patient propensity to pay. The ratio compares consumers' available revolving credit to select healthcare costs. The ratio declined to 17.2:1 in the first quarter of 2016. This means that for every $100 in healthcare costs, consumers had $1,720 in revolving credit available to potentially make those payments at the end of March 2016. This ratio has declined from this same time last year, when the ratio was 22.5:1.

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