It would appear that some insurance companies are feeling the squeeze from the new health care law and that could eventually spell problems for health care providers. According to Kaiser Health News, media outlets in Oregon are reporting that thousands of consumers there have not paid their premiums under the state's exchange program.
Kaiser also reports that the three largest insurance companies in Massachusetts reported taxes of $133 million this year and are linking that cost to steep first-quarter losses. The taxes were assessed by the Obama administration to help finance the health care overhaul. To recoup those losses, the companies have said they will likely raise premiums for employers as well as individuals who are purchasing insurance.
Higher Premiums Could Mean More Out-of-Pocket Costs
Health care providers will need to keep their eyes on both of these situations in order to stay ahead of patient collections. Under the ACA, individuals have 90 days to make good on premium payments before they lose coverage, so providers could find themselves offering care to patients only to find out later that they don't have coverage.
Furthermore, individuals that are struggling to pay premiums now won't be helped by increases from the insurance companies. To keep costs manageable, many individuals may elect to increase their deductibles and keep their monthly payments more affordable. While this will help keep their budgets balanced when they are healthy, it also means they will have a large out-of-pocket burden when they do visit the doctor or a hospital.
The best way to avoid bad debt and improve patient collection is with electronic payment solutions that provide patients with multiple ways to pay for their health care services. The ability to process all forms of payment including check, debit and HSA cards and accept online payments is essential.