Are high health care costs holding back American businesses?

Health costs weigh heavily on organization's budgets.

Rising health care costs affect nearly every American. According to data from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, over 43 million Americans have delinquent medical debt on their credit reports. Medical debt also accounts for over half, 53 percent, of all overdue debt currently in collections.

The rising cost of care affects more than consumers, however. Care facilities that go without reimbursements for the treatment they provide can quickly see their cash flow shrivel, forcing them to cut back on services or find new revenue streams in the form of facility fees, which further increase the cost of care. 

Health care facilities are not the only organizations affected. Employers are increasingly reporting that their health care costs are rising at an unsustainable rate. In fact, according to a report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, premiums for workers rose 114 percent from 1998 and 2008, and have continued their inflation. This makes health care far and away the most expensive benefit for U.S. employers. 

U.S. businesses spend more than $620 billion each year on healthcare, and more than 80 percent of CFOs polled claim that health care costs drain resources that could be used for increased wages or growth investments. 

Many businesses have attempted to diminish the cost burden of health care by offering high-deductible plans, which come with lower premiums but leave subscribers responsible for a greater portion of the cost of care. This trend can spell trouble for accounts receivable management professionals, as an increasing number of Americans find themselves underprepared for their treatment costs. 

In these cases, the decision to outsource receivable management can help protect facility cash flow.