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Patient Out-of-Pocket Healthcare Expenses Rise 12%

Patients paid an average of 12% more to cover out-of-pocket expenses during 2018, according to a study of healthcare data released yesterday by TransUnion at the Healthcare Financial Management Association’s annual conference in Florida.

The number of individuals who experienced an out-of-pocket expense of at least $1,000 more than doubled in 2018, to 12%, from 5% in 2017, according to the study. The percentage of patients who paid between $501 and $1,000 out of their own pockets last year increased to 59%, from 39% a year earlier.

The average out-of-pocket expense for an inpatient visit to a healthcare facility rose to $4,659 in 2018, from $4,086 in 2017. Outpatient costs increased to $1,109 in 2018 from $990 a year earlier, and emergency room visits increased by $40, to $617.

“For several years patients have faced a greater cost burden as healthcare expenses shifted from payers to patients,” said Dave Wojczynski, president of TransUnion Healthcare. “As a result, patients are now making decisions about where they receive care based on costs – not just the quality of care they may receive. This means price transparency is critical for healthcare providers who are not only competing for patients, but also want to secure timely payments from them.”

TransUnion noted the importance of collecting payments from all payers has never been higher, given the increased out-of-pocket expenses, challenges making payments, and elevated insurance denial rates.

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