Hospital and healthcare administrators have a lot to worry about. As the end of the year approaches, one of the primary concerns is any changes in healthcare that will impact the bottom line.

We’ve dug around a bit to find some insight on what to expect. Here is what we know:

-Health Insurance premiums for employer-provided plans are expected to rise by 5 percent in 2019, according to the annual health care survey by the National Business Group on Health. PwC’s Health Research Institute (HRI) projects the costs to increase by 6 percent.

-“The total cost of health care, including premiums and out-of-pocket costs for employees and dependents, is estimated to average $14,800 per employee in 2019, up from $14,099 this year. Large employers will cover roughly 70 percent of those costs, leaving $4,400 on average for employees to pick up in premium contributions and out-of-pocket expenses.” (Source.)

-Insurance companies are starting now to ask for rate hikes for 2019 in the Affordable Care Act Marketplace, which will lead to higher premiums and may force more people to forgo health insurance.

-Most employers will continue to offer high-deductible health plans paired with a Health Saving Card. But there will also be an increase in the number of employers who offer another option along with the HDHP, such as a PPO or HMO plan.

-The contribution that employees can make to their Health Savings accounts increased by $50 for individuals and $100 for families for 2019. The annual limit on deductible contributions will be $3,500 for individuals and $7,000 for family coverage.

More employers are starting to offer contributions toward employees’ HSA accounts if they complete a health plan program.

From these findings, we can expect that Flexible Payment Options and Patient Engagement are going to be important areas of focus for Providers in 2019. By giving patients their expected out-of-pocket responsibility as early as possible and pairing that with several different payment methods and terms, you are likely to have a more successful collection cycle. Extended payment terms will also be more important because patients rarely have enough savings to cover their high deductibles.

What enlightening information have you found about what to expect in 2019?

Horizon Health Fund helps hospitals manage cash flow. Find out how by contacting us.

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