Higher Annual Deductibles and Co-Payments Cause Hospitals to Intensify Efforts to Collect Directly from Patients; Medical Laboratories Now Feel Similar Financial Squeeze

Hospitals and physicians are acting quickly to improve their ability to collect directly from patients as vendors enter market with new collection tools; clinical labs are slower to respond to this fast-moving trend

Collecting deductibles from patients and tackling growing bad debt is quickly becoming a priority at hospitals and health systems around the nation. Clinical laboratories and pathology groups face the same need to become better at collecting money directly from patients at time of service.

By now, it has become clear to most providers that most health insurance plans include requirements that consumers meet a substantial annual deductible—anywhere from $1,500 to as much as $10,000 for a family. Co-payment amounts also have increased significantly, particularly for ancillary services such as medical laboratory tests and imaging studies.

Higher annual deductibles and co-pays are a feature of the new Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum health plans offered through the health insurance exchanges established by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). But this is equally true of many private health insurance plans. (more…)