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Blog | Self-Payment Collection

Surveys show rates of uninsured increased, underinsured remains significant

Blog | Self-Payment Collection

Surveys show rates of uninsured increased, underinsured remains significant

  • Some 10.3% of Americans lacked health insurance in 2019, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as reported by CQ.
  • Hispanics and Blacks continued to be the racial groups most likely to lack coverage, even as the insured rate improved slightly for Hispanics.
  • A recently released Commonwealth Fund report found that during the first half of 2020, 21% of working-age adults were underinsured.

CQ reports that 10.3% of Americans lacked health insurance in 2019, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The rate is one percentage point higher than in the department’s 2018 National Health Interview Survey. Hispanics and Blacks continued to be the racial groups most likely to lack coverage, even as the insured rate improved slightly for Hispanics.

Also released the week of Sept. 7 was a Commonwealth Fund report evaluating working-age adults’ health insurance coverage. It finds that during the first half of 2020 that 21% of working-age adults were underinsured which is largely unchanged from prior years. It also finds that 46% of adults with coverage are in a plan with a deductible of $1,000 or more.

Takeaway

The CDC data doesn’t include the period impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, so the current rate of uninsured is likely much higher. And prior to COVID-19, we saw continued scrutiny of healthcare account resolution practices. This scrutiny will probably only increase moving forward. Given this, it’s more important than ever that hospitals and health systems are mindful of their financial assistance policies and ensure they have:

  • Financial assistance policies in place that reflect the needs of their communities.
  • Patient access to financial assistance information and revenue cycle staff with the skills to communicate with patients and engage them regarding options for resolving patient balances in a clear, consistent and empathetic manner.
  • The ability to provide out-of-pocket price estimates to uninsured patients.
  • Account resolution policies that follow industry best practices

HFMA, with the support of State Collections, recently reconvened its Medical Accounts Receivable Resolution Taskforce to revise our Medical Account Resolution Best Practices. The taskforce includes consumer advocates, providers and collections agencies.

2020 Medical Account Resolution Best Practices available

The updated best practices report, which incorporates the lessons learned by the industry since 2014, was released Sept. 17. It offers concrete, detailed recommendations that encompass all phases of the medical accounts receivable resolution process. It addresses key questions like these:

  • What is the role of patient financial communications and transparency in efforts to resolve an account?
  • How can providers and business affiliates improve collaboration to efficiently resolve accounts in a patient-friendly manner?
  • How should hospitals approach the decision about when to use extraordinary collection actions (if allowed by their board approved accounts resolution policy)?

About the Author

Chad Mulvany, FHFMA,

is director, healthcare finance policy, strategy and development, HFMA’s Washington, D.C., office.

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