Many adults still can’t afford health care payments, study says

Nov 24, 2015 | Health Insurance Billing

Despite recent strides, many adults still feel that health care is too expensive. A new study by the Commonwealth Fund found that 25 percent of working adults have difficulty paying for their health care.

These new numbers are most likely due to rising deductibles and out-of-pocket costs, Healthcare Finance explained. What's more troubling is that the 2015 figures are about the same as they were in Commonwealth Fund's 2014 study, which means that the problem isn't improving.

The Health Care Affordability Index report provides some insight to the Commonwealth study. The report found that 53 percent of adults with low incomes can't afford health care at all and that 13 percent felt that their premiums were too expensive, while another 10 percent complained that it was their deductibles that were unaffordable. Overall, an overwhelming 43 percent said that not only were their deductibles unaffordable, they were placing them under "undue financial burden."

These costs aren't just affecting those with lower incomes, too. Surprisingly, 32 percent of adults with higher incomes surveyed that it was difficult to afford their deductibles. And for those under the poverty line, co-payments and coinsurance costs are reportedly either too difficult or impossible to afford.

One issue for employers and insurers is making sure people don't overuse medical services or use any unnecessary services, but because of low incomes and high deductibles, many of the surveyed adults said they either delay or avoid necessary health care altogether. 40 percent of respondents with high deductibles said they hadn't gone to a doctor when they were sick, didn't get a preventative care test, skipped a follow-up test or avoided visiting a specialist.

Some states are beginning to recognize these financial issues and are working to expand Medicaid programs and create laws that help make healthcare more affordable. For healthcare providers who are concerned about reimbursement, you can choose to outsource receivables management. This can reduce the pressure on administrators and help your financial department run more efficiently. Contact Professional Medical Services today to learn more about our solutions for hospital finance efficiency and revenue cycle management.