Report finds drop in patients’ ability to pay for health care

Consumers’ ability to pay for healthcare costs declined by more than 11 percent between the end of 2013 and the end of 2014, according to a new report.

Using a proprietary ratio of revolving credit to certain healthcare costs, TransUnion found that consumers’ ability to pay declined to a ratio of 13.5 to 1 in the fourth quarter of 2014. In other words, for every $100 in healthcare costs, consumers had $1,350 in revolving credit to potentially make those payments—down from $1,520 (a ratio of 15.2 to 1) in 2013.

Patients in the subprime-credit risk tier—those with a credit score lower than 601—may have the hardest time paying for healthcare costs, according to TransUnion’s latest “Healthcare Report.” Their ratio of credit to healthcare costs dropped from 4.3-to-1 to 3.6-to-1.

The report also found that average patient payment costs rose 11 percent, from $2,245 to $2,491, during the period studied.

“Our latest report demonstrates that consumers continue to feel the pressure of rising healthcare costs,” Gerry McCarthy, president of TransUnion Healthcare, said in a release. “Despite a slowly improving economy, many consumers are finding they have less money to make these payments.

“This issue is not just about patients, though, as thousands of healthcare administrators […]

By |April 24th, 2015|Health Reform, Industry News|Comments Off

Star ratings added for hospitals

A simple star-rating system for Medicare beneficiaries to compare patients’ perceptions of hospital quality recently was launched amid serious provider concerns.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) added star ratings to the Hospital Compare website with the explicit goal of helping patients choose a hospital and gauge the quality of the care it provides.

The star ratings are based solely on results from the HCAHPS survey by patients at almost 3,500 Medicare-certified acute care hospitals. The 12 star ratings for each hospital represent results for each of 11 publicly reported HCAHPS measures and an overall rating. The star ratings will be updated each quarter. Star ratings released in April are based on patients discharged between July 1, 2013, and June 30, 2014, according to a CMS fact sheet.

The topics tracked under the ratings include:

How well nurses and doctors communicated with patients
How responsive hospital staff were to patient needs
How clean and quiet the hospital environment was
How well-prepared patients were for post-hospital settings

Star ratings already are used for nursing homes, physician group practices, and dialysis facilities, and are planned for Home Health Compare later this year. Eventually, Medicare plans to expand the star ratings to include other areas, such as clinical […]

By |April 24th, 2015|Health Reform, Medicare/Medicaid|Comments Off

Ohio Medicaid Budget Hearing Scheduled

The Ohio Senate Medicaid budget hearing for HB 64 is scheduled for next Thursday, April 30th. Click here for the schedule.  All committee hearings will begin promptly at 1:30pm and will be held in the Senate Finance Hearing Room in Columbus.  However, please note that all estimated start times for testimony are subject to change based upon the pace of committee.

In addition to the scheduled hearings, the committee will also be scheduling Panel Discussions throughout the time period to focus on several issues.  They would ask all interested parties to please plan public testimony accordingly, as there will be an opportunity for public testimony following each Panel Discussion.  Panel Discussion topics will include:

MyCare Ohio Program
Payment Reform
Behavioral Health Integration

*All topics are subject to change, and additional panel topics may be scheduled.

If you or your organization plans to provide testimony, you are asked to please send an electronic copy of your testimony and a witness form 24 hours in advance of the scheduled start time to  If you are planning to provide a Power Point/Electronic Media presentation, please let their office know 24 hours in advance or as soon as possible so they could make proper accommodations.

By |April 24th, 2015|Medicare/Medicaid|Comments Off


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