February 26, 2016

Bad Debt a Concern for Hospitals, Healthcare Prices, and more in CarePayment’s News You Can Use

By CarePayment

Bad Debt is the Pain Hospitals Can’t Heal as Patients Don’t PayBAD DEBT PAIN

According to Bloomberg Business, high deductible health plans are creating barriers for hospitals to collect payment. For instance, in 2015 the second largest for-profit health system reported 40 percent of its bad debt was attributed to patients not being able to pay their deductibles or co-pays. Further research has shown how Americans cannot afford medical bills that surpass five percent of their household income. During 2015, 36 percent of the population were insured by high deductible health plans.

New Study Says Prices for MRIs Vary Widely – If You Can Actually Obtain Them

A recent study conducted by the Boston-based Pioneer institute states prices for common medical procedures vary across cities and healthcare providers are not prepared to provide price information, reports Fierce Health Finance. Researchers called various hospitals asking for the price of a MRI (one of the most common procedures a patient can receive), and found the answer wasn’t readily available. They often had to provide billing codes, be transferred through different departments, had to be placed on hold for lengthy periods, and experience other obstacles before receiving an answer. In addition, differences in prices were outstanding. For example, one hospital offers a MRI for $400 while another health system (a little more than ten miles away) offers the same procedure for $2,850. The study emphasizes the importance of price transparency for a population tied to high deductible health plans.

21 Hacks to Reduce Your Healthcare Costs This Year

Huffington Post shares tips on how a healthcare consumer can reduce their costs this year. One tip focuses on negotiating your medical bill and inquiring about payment plans. Hospitals are willing to work with their patients and provide opportunities for financial ease. Other tips include using generic drugs rather than brand-name, living an active lifestyle, and choosing the correct health plan that fits best for your needs.

Merkley Takes a Stand against Medical Debt

U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon proposed new legislation to protect consumers from credit scores being damaged by medical debt. Portland Business Journal shares how the senator believes consumers shouldn’t be impacted by medical debt that was either caused by billing system errors or unexpected injuries and illnesses. Co-sponsoring this bill with Merkley are two senators from Illinois and New Jersey.