Are You Overwhelmed With Medical Bills?
Over a third (35%) of Americans struggle to pay medical bills. Plus, unpaid medical expenses are the number one reason families ultimately file for bankruptcy. Thankfully, this is not inevitable. In fact, it’s something that may change in a few short years. Here are a few reasons why things seem to be changing for the better:
Americans Are Getting Smarter About Their Healthcare
Thanks to recent improvements like electronic healthcare record (EHRs), a tool implemented by 78% of doctors’ offices and counting as of 2013, U.S. patients have greater access to their medical history and medical bills. As such, they are slowly learning more about medical billing and coding and the average health insurance costs and premiums. For instance, more patients are catching on to possible discounts. You may be eligible for any number of discounts related to medical expenses and patient billing, depending on your insurance carrier or sometimes even your method of payment. Some companies offer a slight discount — up to 10% — to patients who pay over the phone, for example.
There Are More Options Than Ever Before
The average medical billing company is shifting to digital and over-the-phone processing and payment methods. Why? Forty-three percent of consumers say they prefer it this way, and another 73% specifically want online tools to help them review bills, medical appointments, and payments from their home computer. Payments and patient billing are not the only categories that afford patients more options. In fact, more Americans are changing the way they receive important care.
Telemedicine and telehealth services will make it possible for patients to consult with a doctor for quality care without paying for over-the-top office and/or emergency room visits. This will require less space, less equipment, and it will save doctors, nurses, and technicians considerable time — all cost-saving measures. This cost-savings, of course, is ultimately felt by the patient, too.
With time, medical expenses may not be as overwhelming as they used to be. Electronic health records and new patient billing practices make it possible for Americans to better assess their finances and find opportunities for discounts and savings, when and where applicable. Likewise, telehealth and remote appointment options are also driving healthcare costs lower and lower.