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Medical Expenses? Get Real.

Now Comprehensive Care Can Come At Too High A Cost

The ongoing trend in health care right now is all about consumers taking control during the high-deductible, accountable care era. Let us set the stage for you.

You have an emergency and go to the hospital. The people caring for you are not covered in your insurance network and you are bombarded with surprise medical bills that have high price tags. You didn’t ask for someone not in your network. If it is mandated to have insurance coverage, why is this even happening?

Consumers are changing their reactions to this situation. We consistently keep a pulse on large-scale “macrotrends” from our Iconoculture partner, and one is called “Get Real.” Consumers have had it with being told what they think and want. They’re standing up for themselves with a clear compass of what’s right for them. Before, they used to accept charges, or maybe they didn’t even examine them. But now, patients (and the government) are doing something about it.

Consumers are becoming active participants in their health care by taking advantage of the information available. This means they are more diligent and research-oriented. They are also working to understand all the ins and outs of their bills. The net result is patients are getting tired of hidden medical costs. They are beginning to ask questions about payments, looking for itemized receipts and expecting explanations for every charge.

States are starting to take notice of this new trend. New York, for example, has stated that it is unfair to require insurance coverage then surprise patients with additional medical bills. So under new law, patients are generally protected from owing more than their in-network co-payment for surprise out-of-network bills.

The net result is that patients are driving this industry. And what does that mean for health systems? A shift in communication. They need to communicate differently to give these patients a sense of control and appeal to all their new values of confidence, trust, savvy and integrity.

This translates to providing transparent, empowering experiences. Provide patients avenues to take control across all channels – searching and providing reviews, transparency and active involvement in the billing process and opportunities to own their own patient experience.

So now, more than ever, patient engagement is key. Engaging patients through functional online portals, personalized communications, self-assessments and a variety of options for collaboration and delivery of care, can help to command the attention and business of this control-demanding patient. Fail to adapt and risk losing current and prospective patients. Comprehensive care can now come at too high of a cost.

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