New study finds insured not immune from medical debt

Jul 21, 2014 | Healthcare Accounts Receivable

In the past, this blog has explored the study by the Kaiser Family Foundation and Clear Point Credit Counseling Solutions that found one in three Americans report having difficulty managing the cost of hospital treatment. New information has surfaced about the situation that shows how pervasive the issue has become. In a new article by BusinessWire, it is reported that even those with insurance and high incomes are not immune to medical debt.

A study by Vitals, a company attempting to increase healthcare cost transparency, was released only two days after the Kaiser Family Foundations findings were made public. The Vitals study asked more than 1,200 people through an online third-party polling service about the affordability of medical care. In the study, 30 percent of respondents who had debt also carried insurance.

There has been a serious increase in public anxiety over the rise of health care costs. About 42 percent of insured people said they still worry "somewhat" or "a lot" about paying for medical or pharmacy bills. "The mounting crisis of medical debt in America is causing untold stress, exacerbating illness and devastating the financial futures of millions of individuals and families," stated Alan Balch, CEO of Patient Advocate Foundation in a press release regarding the issue. 

The  growing popularity of high-deductible plans in addition to a lack of cost transparency in the healthcare system have many wondering for the stability of the industry. And because of stagnant wage growth and a lackluster economy, many are not able to start a savings intended for medical emergencies. 

Of course, this situation also has a dire effect on health care providers, as patients failing to pay their bills creates bad debt. If your practice is looking for hospital billing backlog solutions, consider outsourcing accounts receivable management to Professional Medical Services