Healthcare Reform Squeezing Patients and Providers

Millions of Americans are avoiding seeking healthcare now that the Affordable Care Act is in full swing. Indeed, not so “affordable” has the law become. The Kaiser Family Foundation reported that deductibles for single coverage range from about $1,100 to $1,300 across the U.S. and approximately 1 out of every 4 Americans has had to forego seeking coverage in 2014. Other sources are showing an average deductible (single coverage) of $2,000 for 20% of the population and family coverage ranging from $2,000 to $4,500.

The Commonwealth Fund recently polled Americans regarding the large deductibles and found that:

  • 40% had a medical problem but did not go to a doctor
  • 33% did not get a preventative care test
  • 43% skipped a medical test, treatment, or follow-up which was recommended by a physician
  • 35% did not see a specialist despite their physician’s recommendation

Many rates have climbed again in 2015, so we expect this trend to continue. Adding to the years of stagnant employee salaries, the issue will only be exacerbated. When patients finally do seek healthcare, they will most likely be faced with substantial debt.

For providers, this means that most likely when patients do finally come in to the office, they will be much sicker than had they sought care earlier. Moreover, providers will come up short financially because the high deductibles push the debt onto the patient and thus burden the medical and dental practices with trying to collect.

Along those same lines, Time magazine recently published an article titled “Why Millennials Hate Their Least Expensive Health Care Option.” In short, many young Americans do not want and have refused to buy health insurance coverage. The result? These individuals are coming in as self-pay patients, again financially pressuring medical and dental practices to try to collect from young Americans who, if they do have a job, have not yet amassed much in the way of financial savings.

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Contact ABISA, a consultancy specializing in solo and small group practice management. Visit us at ABISALLC.com.

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