Health insurance cost inflation outpaces wages

Stagnant wage growth can lead to many care facilities encountering challenges with cash flow.

Most health care insurance subscribers purchase a plan provided by their employer. Increasingly, these take the form of high-deductible plans which come with low premiums, but allow employers to pass on much of the costs to their team members in the form of high insurance deductibles. Now, a new report form the Commonwealth Fund states that subscribers are paying "more in premiums and deductibles than ever before."

The report found that total premiums for family employer-provided plans have risen 73 percent from 2003 to 2013, while workers' personal share of those premium costs leaped 93 percent. During this same time frame, the national median family income has increased only 16 percent. 

Families are "being squeezed by health-care costs," report co-author Sara Collins, vice president for Health-Care Coverage and Access at the Commonwealth Fund, told CNBC. "Growth in family income is so slow that people still feel a pinch from health costs."

This trend affects roughly 153 million people, or 57 percent of the population, who are covered by health plans offered by their employer. The stagnation of wages is also of critical concern to health care accounts receivable management professionals. The rise of high-deductible plans means that patients are responsible for greater up-front costs, which they may not be able to cover due to the inversely proportional increase in deductibles. 

To help alleviate any potential negative effects of this trend on cash flow, health insurance claims management professionals are encouraged to pursue accounts receivable outsourcing. This decision can lead to a sharp reduction in the number of dollars written off to bad debt, and promote a stronger patient-provider relationship.