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FACING THE TIDE OF BAD DEBT IN HEALTHCARE

As insured patient cost sharing soars, how will providers collect?

Overview

Insured-patient cost-sharing, which includes deductibles, co-insurance and co-pays will grow 40 percent over the next five years, Accenture analysis found. Given the complexity of collecting patient payments, providers will likely face substantial increases in insured bad debt. Consequently, companies need to adjust their payment and collections strategies to handle complex liabilities.

The ACA is boosting insured patient rolls, and according to the Congressional Budget Office, the number of uninsured will drop by more than 25 percent over the next five years.

However, Accenture found that this rise in insured patient cost-sharing will significantly outweigh the benefits of having fewer uninsured patients. The main problem involves the increasing share of their healthcare bills that patients must pay out of pocket.

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Key Findings

Recommendations

Providers need to adjust their payment and collections strategies, which will mean greater healthcare pricing transparency and patient engagement. Effective collection requires the up-front identification, communication and collection of liabilities and the support of a comprehensive set of strategies, resources and tools.

Several effective payment strategies exist for this situation. Providers should focus on complex liabilities, concentrating on complicated payment areas like deductibles and coinsurance instead of solely pursuing simpler up-front collections strategies such as co-payments.

They should also expand their financial counseling capabilities in order to educate and assist patients. Another strategy involves establishing strong customer relationship skills, which is currently an underappreciated area in the industry.

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