How high-deductible health plans rocked the ASC world

High-deductible health plans are increasingly prevalent in the healthcare space. According to 2018 CDC data, 44 percent of patients with employee-sponsored health insurance had some form of a high-deductible health plan.

Cindy Young, BSN, RN, administrative director of Surgery Center of Farmington (Mo.); Sandra Jones, founder of Ambulatory Strategies; and Bob Scheller Jr., CEO of Lake Porter Physicians Group in Valparaiso, Ind., spoke about high-deductible health plans and how they'll affect the ASC industry during an Oct. 24 presentation at the Becker's ASC Review 26th Annual Meeting in Chicago.

Mr. Scheller elaborated on how the health plans have affected his standalone hospital outpatient departments in Valparaiso.

"$2,500 [for a deductible], which used to be shocking, is nothing anymore," Mr. Scheller said. "We routinely [see plans in the $5,000 to $7,000 range. Catastrophic insurance is now health insurance. How do you cope with that? We always encourage anesthesia to get their bills out first. Get their physician's office to get their bills out. … The timing element is certainly something, but the flexibility we have because of the close relationship we have with our physicians allows us to treat the patients a whole lot better."

Ms. Young said that changing times have led her center to shift how they collect entirely.

"We used to give patients a lot more flexibility with payments, but now we try to collect all of that upfront, because if we don't collect that upfront we know we probably won't get it on the back end," Ms. Young said.

Ms. Jones said when it comes to collecting from patients with HDHPs, communication has become essential.

"Communication has always been key when talking to physician offices and patients," Ms. Jones said. "It's even more important now. There's software available now that can help [administrators] determine with greater accuracy what the deductible is going to be, [but] you really must communicate with the patients as well as the physicians' office staff."

More articles on turnarounds:
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2020 ASC budgets: Where 8 execs are spending the most, and key changes for next year
Stark Law changes in the works & 4 other must-read articles 

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