After a year of uncertainty, many are beginning to welcome the return to a sense of normalcy within their lives with optimism and open arms. The uncharted territory that the pandemic forced healthcare systems, communities, and businesses to navigate was unlike anything anyone had seen before. Despite the return to normalcy being a positive one for many, one thing has remained the same for many families in the United States. The high cost of healthcare and the fear of entering into medical debt has caused many families to delay medical care to avoid receiving an unexpectedly high medical bill. The fear of medical debt isn’t a novel concern. According to a 2016 Kaiser Family Foundation and New York Times survey, more than 1 in 4 Americans have had trouble paying a medical bill.
Unexpected medical bills have become a much larger concern for more families as communities and businesses continue to respond to the disruptions within the workforce caused by the pandemic. With almost 50% of Americans receiving their health insurance through their employer in 2019, many families who have been impacted by recent unemployment have felt the need to either cancel or not schedule regular appointments with their healthcare provider.
Many individuals have had to use a different approach in order to afford paying out of pocket for care they require. According to a recent study by LendingTree, 5.4% of completed personal loan inquiries during the last full week of 2020 were for medical expenses, compared with 3.6% during the equivalent week in 2019 — an increase of 50%. Between changes in employment, insurance coverage, or general concern of the unknown, important medical care check-ups were put on the back burner by many this past year at an increased rate. According to a 2020 Bankrate survey, nearly 1 in 3 families in the United States, or 32 percent, decided not to seek medical care in the past 12 months because of cost.
Signature Understands Healthcare Administrative Demands
Avoiding healthcare visits or tests all together can have a drastic impact not only on an individual’s overall health outcome, but also on the cost of the treatment plan that may be required due to a delay in care. When essential care is delayed and medical conditions go undiagnosed for an extensive period of time, the financial burden that caused the delay in care in the first place becomes exacerbated. In order to treat more aggressive health conditions, the cost of treatment becomes more extensive for the individual, health plans, and for the healthcare ecosystem as a whole.
This familiar cycle has been causing financial strain on families and compounding an existing issue within the healthcare system in the United States, pre and post pandemic. In conjunction with individuals delaying medical care for fear of receiving a medical bill they can’t afford, the pandemic also kept individuals out of hospital settings due to the fear of getting sick. Because of these low volumes, it is projected that this past year will result in increased utilization and medical cost spending heading into 2022. According to a recent PwC’s Health Research Institute (HRI) report, employer medical costs are projected to rise 6.5% in 2022. For this reason, it is more important than ever before to get to the core of what can help alleviate the high costs of healthcare and simplify administrative tasks so lasting change can be made.
Signature Performance is improving not only our clients’ business, but the entire healthcare industry by finding better ways to leverage technology, implement operational readiness, and other industry-leading processes which provide technical solutions and lower the cost of healthcare administration. Our team is on the frontlines with payers and providers. Our track record over the last 17 years proves we can navigate any administrative burden with a thoughtful approach, while improving the overall outcome. Our experience in serving both the payer and provider side of healthcare financial management allows us to implement innovative solutions for every administrative demand.
To learn more about how Signature Performance can help you navigate your healthcare administrative obstacles, contact our team today!
Michelle Swertzic is the VP of Health Solutions & Strategy at Signature Performance Inc., in Omaha NE. Signature Performance is an industry leader in reducing healthcare administration costs for private and public healthcare sectors. Our unmatched experience in serving both the payer and provider side of healthcare financial management allows us to implement innovative solutions for every administrative demand.