Health care costs expected to increase for 2015

Patients could become responsible for larger up-front costs.

According to a survey of 136 large businesses by the National Business Group on Health, employers are expecting a 5 percent increase in health costs for next year. The responding organizations also shared that they will continue to require workers to pay an increasing share of the cost of their medical care. 

In recent years, many organizations have attempted to reduce their health care costs by transferring the burden onto their employees, through offering cost-sharing provisions and plans with high deductibles.

 "Employees can expect to see a 5 percent increase on their end as well," Brian Marcotte, president and CEO of the National Business Group on Health wrote in a release accompanying the report. "Though 5 percent doesn't seem like as big an increase as we've experienced from years past, it is still a significant increase and significant impact on the bottom line."

The most popular employer health care plan remains a PPO, or preferred provider organization, which on average have a deductible under $1,000, but as this blog has previously reported, higher-deductible plans are becoming an increasing popular strategy for large organizations looking to reduce their health care costs. 

Forty-four percent of employers reported that CDHPs, or consumer-directed health plans, are the most popular among their workers, according to an analysis of the report by U.S. News. These plans carry more significant upfront costs for subscribers, but have lower monthly premiums that are attractive to optimistic employees. 

As the average deductible continues to rise, more patients could begin experiencing trouble reimbursing facilities for the care that they receive. This can lead to a backlog of medical claim processing, which affects hospital's cash flow and ability to provide quality patient care. Outsourcing the collection of accounts receivable can lead to a decrease in the number of dollars written to bad debt, and a sharp reduction in losses due to missed filing and appeal deadline.