It’s no secret the cost of healthcare in the United States continues to rise year-over-year. As we move into 2019, these factors also seem to be contributing to an overall increase in healthcare debt. Already, many people are struggling to pay their medical bills. There are many Hospitals, doctor's offices, and healthcare service providers that are already struggling to recoup on time and early out bills, signifying the potential for a massive increase in healthcare debt, and thus the increased need for healthcare collection services.
So, which factors are having a major impact on healthcare collections in 2019?
Increasing Healthcare Costs
The first, and, perhaps, most relevant factor is the rising cost of healthcare. Experts have predicted the costs will increase by at least 5% more this year. This affects average wage earners who have insurance together with employers who are struggling to cope as their premiums increase. When insurance premiums have high deductibles, patients accrue debt. Not only that, but the prices of prescription drugs have gone up.
The Top Six Factors
For healthcare service providers, the cost of supplying those services has increased exponentially. There are six main reasons for this:
- Increased regulatory complexity. As the healthcare system faces more regulation, it becomes more complex to provide care. State rules look set to become more complicated and this means multistate healthcare networks will struggle.
- An increased drive for technology. More money is being spent on technology by healthcare organizations. Healthcare is becoming increasingly consumerized as patients demand greater convenience and access. All this costs money.
- Acquisitions and mergers are set to continue. Healthcare systems have been merging and this trend is increasing. This isn’t going to change in the near future. Megamergers are becoming commonplace. While this is good news for the merged health systems, it means prices will rise.
- The impact of the flu season. During 2017 and 2018, the financial impact of the flu season was enormous. In fact, it was among the highest seen in many years. An average flu season will cost more than $10 billion for medical expenses and hospitalizations. On top of that, companies could lose another $7 billion in terms of employee sick days and unproductivity. If this year’s season is equally severe, the financial impact will be significant.
- Added pressure from Baby Boomers. The number of people over the age of 65 is set to triple by 2030. Of those Baby Boomers, 6 percent will suffer from multiple chronic conditions. Heart disease, diabetes, and obesity are just some of them. These disorders all result in expensive ER visits and hospital re admissions.
- Pressure from price transparency. Providers are facing increasing pressure to have transparent pricing. Experts have predicted that states will enact regulations that will demand greater price controls and more transparency.
Thinking Outside the Box
When it comes to handling healthcare accounts receivable management, it is vital to think outside the box. Healthcare providers must look for a new way to elicit payments on past due accounts. In such challenging times as this, it is essential to find a better way to collect and receive healthcare payments.
BillingTree has a cutting-edge solution designed to meet the needs of healthcare service providers. By offering fully compliant payment processing solutions, it is easier to streamline on-site and postcare payments. These solutions offer patients the ability to activate their own payment plans and to use their preferred payment methods. Web portals and IVR payment systems allow 24/7 access for the greatest convenience. With BillingTree’s healthcare accounts receivable management solutions, practices can face the challenges 2019 has in store.