Monday, March 6, 2017

1 in 4 Patients Requested a Cost Estimate at Their Last Visit

Navicure recently released results from their survey on patient billing and payments. Here are some key findings from the report:

3 in 4 provider organizations are able to provide a cost estimate upon request.
Less than 25% of patients requested a cost estimate on their last visit.
51% of providers say it takes patients more than 3 months to pay in full.
18% of patients claim it took them longer than 3 months to pay their last balance.
1 in 5 providers think online bill pay is the most effective payment method.
16% pf patients prefer a provider website to make payments.

Source: Navicure, February 17, 2017

Thursday, March 2, 2017

National Health Spending Was $3.4 Trillion in 2016

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently released a study on national healthcare expenditure projections. Here are some key findings from the report:

Health expenditure growth is expected to average 5.6% annually through 2025.
Health spending is projected to outpace GDP growth by 1.2 percentage points.
The health spending share of GDP will rise from 17.8% in 2015 to 19.9% in 2025.
For 2016, total health spending is projected to have reached $3.4 trillion.
By 2025, governments are projected to finance 47% of national health spending.
Medicare spending growth is expected to average 7.1% from 2016-2025.

Source: CMS, February 15, 2017

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

$117.5 Billion Spent on Dental Care in 2015

Kaiser Family Foundation recently updated their health spending explorer tool with data from 2015. Here are some key findings about dental expenditures from the report:

$117.5 billion was spent on dental care in 2015.
Spending on dental care was $366 per capital in 2015.
0.7% GDP was used for dental care in 2015.
Total dental spending increased $4.7 billion from 2014 to 2015.
3.7% of total health spending in 2015 was used for dental care.
The annual percent change in dental spending in 2015 was 4.2%.

Source: Health System Tracker, December 7, 2016

36% of Patients Were Sent to SNFs After Joint Replacement

Avalere recently released a 2017 Outlook report that compares actual post-acute care after joint replacements for Medicare patients to recommended care. Here are some key findings from the report:

8% were sent to an inpatient rehabilitation facility (5% recommended).
There is a 17% readmissions risk difference between actual and recommended rates.
36% were sent to a skilled nursing facility (5% recommended).
There is a 30% difference in spending between actual and recommended actions.
36% were provided home health, compared to a recommendation of 76%.
19% received no post-acute care, compared to a recommendation of 14%.

Source: Avalere, January 12, 2017

Complete ACA Repeal Would Cost $350 Billion Through 2027

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget recently released cost estimates for a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Here are some key findings from the report:

A complete repeal of the ACA would cost roughly $350 billion through 2027.
Repealing just the coverage provisions would save $1.55 trillion through 2027.
Coverage and revenue provisions repeal would save $750 billion through 2027.
Repealing ACA would increase the number of uninsured people by 23 million.
Delaying coverage provisions repeal 4 years would reduce savings to $300 billion.
Repealing the ACA tax increases would cost $800 billion.

Trump calls for bipartisan support to repeal the ACA

By Virgil Dickson  | February 28, 2017

President Donald Trump is calling for members of both parties in Congress to support his ideas to replace the Affordable Care Act.

In a speech before Congress Tuesday night, Trump outlined, for the first time, a more detailed healthcare reform package.

First, he wants people with pre-existing conditions to maintain coverage. Trump suggested Americans buy their own plans with tax credits and expanded health savings accounts.

It's unlikely Democrats will back many of Trump's suggestions. While Republicans stood and applauded during the evening address, their colleagues across the aisle largely remained seated and stone-faced.

Trump pushed back against stabilizing the individual market before addressing Medicaid expansion. GOP plans appear to favor a Medicaid program that offers capped federal funding.

On Tuesday, Trump seemed to indicate the two reforms should occur concurrently. Earlier this week, Trump met with insurers who said they were encouraged by recent moves by Trump's administration to address some of the industry's concerns.

In what appeared to be a nod to governors who also met with the president this week, Trump called on Congress to give states resources and flexibility to tweak Medicaid as governors see fit.

Finally, he returned to his campaign idea of allowing insurance be sold across state lines.

"Mandating every American to buy government-approved health insurance was never the right solution for America. The way to make health insurance available to everyone is to lower the cost of health insurance, and that is what we will do," he said.

His ideas reflect what other Republicans have included in plans circulated over the past year, though no one plan appears to have broad support.

Policy experts have decried many of the ideas, such as a greater reliance on health savings accounts instead of premium subsidies.

HSAs fail to benefit low-income people who might not have extra cash to store away for healthcare, according to the Center for American Progress. “This proposal would replace assistance for low-income people with a tax shelter for the wealthy,” the left-leaning think tank said.

HSAs are generally tied to high-deductible health plans, meaning that individuals might be responsible for higher out of pocket costs.

Some conservative lawmakers say tax credits and HSAs amount to "Obamacare lite."

Former Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, who expanded Medicaid while in office, delivered the Democrats' response to the speech. Kentucky saw some of the biggest drops in the uninsured rate as a result of the expansion.

He gave voice to concerns Trump's ideas would result in more uninsured people. "You and your Republican allies in Congress seem determined to rip affordable health insurance away from millions of Americans who most need it," Beshear said.

Still, he said he hoped Trump could be successful in providing more and better healthcare.

“Keep your word. This isn't a game,” Beshear said, addressing Trump. “It's life and death for people.”

The American Academy of Family Physicians expressed dismay over Trump's ideas.

"He has stepped back from policies that will ensure all Americans have access to meaningful, affordable health care coverage,” Dr. John Megis.

Trump's plan “to slash premium subsidies for hard-working families would cause many millions to lose health coverage,” said Ron Pollack, executive director of the advocacy group Families USA. "It would also make out-of-pocket costs unaffordable for many others.”