The healthcare affordability crisis plaguing America is getting more dire by the year. Despite being surrounded by healthcare services, from traditional medical settings to retail and digital spaces, many people are terrified to use them because they don’t know how much they will cost – leading some to pay the ultimate price: foregoing important treatment and care because they can’t afford it.
Unfortunately, the cost of healthcare in America is only increasing. Even though 90% of Americans now have health insurance, high-deductible plans are prevalent and force more of the cost burden onto patients. Further, the complexity of plan designs and payment structures makes it difficult for the average patient to understand what care will cost and what they will owe. As one person in a nationwide survey blatantly stated, “This is America, the land where healthcare is confusing, frustrating, and expensive.”
Eye-opening insights from real patients
Arrive Health’s new survey report, The Terrifying Truth about America’s Healthcare Affordability Crisis, presents an eye-opening view into what people are feeling and experiencing due to healthcare costs. It includes insights from over 1,000 adults across the US about what actions they’ve taken due to their inability to pay for healthcare and how infrequently they talk about cost with their healthcare providers.
Consumers are anxious. Over half said they are very or somewhat concerned about their ability to pay for medication or healthcare expenses, and 65% admitted they would not be able to afford a new $250 per month expense to manage a chronic condition and its medications.
One of the most worrisome findings was 64% admitting they would skip or delay if they didn’t know the cost ahead of time. It’s been widely recognized that cost impacts medication and care adherence, with one survey respondent clearly linking the two by saying they had “put off and delayed care for years due to costs.” Non-adherence like this directly impacts patient outcomes, as well as contributes to provider rework and burnout, and impacts quality measures.
The price transparency movement in healthcare is growing with CMS requiring health plans and hospitals to post pricing information for covered items and services, yet we remain a long way from putting usable price information into the hands of consumers.
The path to transparency exists, but requires a fundamental shift
Patients are real people, just like you and me. These findings illustrate the undeniable impact rising healthcare costs are having, and why it is so important to make it possible for people to find lower-cost, affordable options.
Supporting patient affordability requires widespread collaboration to improve access to personalized cost and coverage data. There are often lower-cost, convenient options for recommended care, but patients do not know about them because providers don’t always talk about cost. Fortunately, solutions exist to fill the price transparency gap, technologies such as Real-Time Prescription Benefit which present accurate cost information within existing workflows so providers can discuss the right options at the time of prescribing. We simply need more providers to gain access to and use these tools to bring cost to the forefront of patient-provider conversations. Once that happens and lower-cost options are presented, we can keep patients engaged with automated outreach tools proven to boost adherence without burdening our already taxed healthcare teams.
Arrive Health is clearing the way for better health with solutions that improve affordability, access, and outcomes. Download a copy of the full survey report here.
This article originally appeared on Fierce Healthcare.