Study: Americans access to doctors fall as health care costs increase

About one in four households report seeing their provider less often due to cost concerns.

There have been significant changes to the American health care system in recent years, as the federal government has set its focus on controlling rapidly rising costs and providing coverage for the millions of previously uninsured Americans. While the Affordable Care Act has had significant successes, a new survey from Radius Global Market Research shows that certain trends have developed new heath care consumer habits. 

One of the most impactful trends has been the shifting of the costs from employers to employees in the form of high-deductible plans. This practice has had many unintended consequences, as Kathleen Relias, senior vice president of Radius GMR and head of its Healthcare practice, explained in a recent press release. 

"Radius GMR's study shows that as costs shift to consumers, patients are making fewer office visits, switching medicines more often, and using non-traditional offices for care," Relias said. "These changes are impacting doctors' ability to have high quality relationships with their patients. Patients will need greater transparency to make decisions about their healthcare as they trade off healthcare with other household expenditures."

The report also found that approximately one in three Americans rank rising health care costs among their top-three financial concerns. Nearly half of all households included in the survey also experienced increased costs compared with the last year, and more than half anticipate additional increases in the next six months.

Radius' report shows how health care cost concerns have become part  of the national conversation, and the attitudes many domestic health care consumers have about their future coverage prospects. 

Accounts receivable management professionals  should take note of these concerns, and be prepared for possible interruptions to cash flow at their facility. Seeking outside assistance with health insurance claims follow-up can help protect a care facilities' ability to provide quality care.