Summary: A shift in the way hospitals collect bills has been taking place for some time, and is picking up speed. “Hospitals and providers, historically, received 90% of the reimbursement from insurers, according to The Advisory Board. The patient portion was more of an afterthought,” writes Holly Fletcher at The Tennessean. “That dynamic is shifting as more people come under high deductible health plans. The ratio could settle around 70-30 — with patients paying nearly a third of their bills, said Ken Kubisty, senior vice president at Advisory Board Consulting and Management. For every patient dollar being billed, hospitals have historically failed to collect 65 cents.” Almost a quarter of Americans have a deductible of $2,000, meaning that they pay out of pocket until that $2,000 level. So: What we’re seeing is that hospitals and other providers, in reaction to these trends, are establishing and accepting cash rates that may be lower than their negotiated or reimbursed rates, and yet allow them to get some money — even if not all of what they want. The landscape is changing daily, as hospitals and other providers look at their bottom lines, and try to figure out what’s next. For patients: Always ask “How much will that cost? How much will that cost me? How much will it cost if I pay cash?” Read Fletcher’s entire piece here.
Jeanne Pinder is the founder and CEO of ClearHealthCosts. She worked at The New York Times for almost 25 years as a reporter, editor and human resources executive, then volunteered for a buyout and founded... More by Jeanne Pinder