Health care policy experts call for patients to take more active role

By being knowledgeable about costs, patients can sometimes negotiate better rates.

The country's health care system , from an internal standpoint, is virtually unrecognizable from even ten years ago. The Affordable Care Act and changing reimbursement policies have placed more emphases on cost control and coordination between providers, changing the way most practices operate. 

Americans have also become more health-conscious, eating better and living more active lifestyles. It was long believed that these methods of preventative care would help to control inflating health care costs. However, recent studies show that despite extensive federal efforts and increases in patients taking a more active role in their care, the rise in costs show no signs of slowing. 

As a result, some health care policy experts are calling for patients to take a more active role, and speak out against consistently high and unpredictable treatment costs.

"You can't be a citizen any longer and not realize there are no more magical solutions to these problems," Dr. Reed Tuckson, a former executive for UnitedHealth Group Inc. and the American Medical Association, and now an industry consultant, told MarketWatch. "The increase in Medicare expenditures is so huge. And there's no way that you're going to have any kind of taxation that could possibly solve that dilemma."

One of the actions Dr. Tuckson advised health care subscribers to take was to demand more health-car cost transparency tools, and not to be afraid to use knowledge of current prices to leverage fairer costs. 

Rising health care costs have caused an increase in facilities seeking hospital billing backlog solutions as a result of patients being unprepared for their final cost of care. The decision to outsource receivables management can provide a more manageable claims load for in-house staff, and dramatically reduce the number of dollars written off to bad debt.