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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

A Study On How many Patients Are Being Billed For Preventive Care Which Should Be Free

According to recent research, countless Americans are being billed for preventive and apparently free health care, and these fees may dissuade them from scheduling appointments in the foreseeable future.

The importance of health care: Even if you are in good health, you should see your doctor for periodic checkups. Such visits may assist you in avoiding future issues. The only way to know whether you have high blood pressure, for example, is to have it examined on a regular basis.

A Study On How many Patients Are Being Billed For Preventive Care Which Should Be Free

In the early stages, high blood sugar and cholesterol levels may not cause any symptoms. These problems can be checked with a simple blood test.

According to the research’s main author Alexander Hoagland, a Ph.D. student in economics at Boston University, out-of-pocket costs for preventative treatment that ought to be exempt under the Affordable Care Act can deter individuals from seeking recommended care. 

A Study On How many Patients Are Being Billed For Preventive Care Which Should Be Free

This research helps to find the cost that can be reimbursed by the insurance companies or even other health benefit schemes but yet the patients have to pay them from their pocket. According to research there are many minor tests that can be easily reimbursed but many patients do not know about the same and hence they pay on their own.

Hoagland also stated, in a university news release, that “The direct effect arises from patients who unexpectedly had to pay for a preventive service, and who are now less likely to return for repeated screenings,”

He also added that “Indirectly, other potential patients who hear about these negative experiences may be less likely to seek out any screenings for fear of getting stuck with a bill,”

Hoagland and his colleagues looked and examined the national health insurance claims data from 2018 for adults and children with employer-sponsored coverage. They discovered that their overall out-of-pocket expenses for preventive care amounted to $219 million.

One out of every four patients who received preventive treatment had out-of-pocket expenses, averaging from $20 to $23 per individual per annum. The study discovered that out-of-pocket expenditures varied greatly depending on the type of preventative care provided and where patients lived.

The majority of the costs were accounted for by annual wellness checkups, which accounted for more than 35% of the total.

Routine cancers screening, diabetes, cholesterol, mental health issues like depression, obesity, and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) as well as pregnancy-related procedures, were all subject to unexpected expenses. According to the study, out-of-pocket charges for these procedures ranged from $3.63 to $293.28 per person.

Preventive care was more probable to be billed on patients in the South and rural areas. Patients in Massachusetts and Colorado, for example, had average rates of less than 10%, but patients in Mississippi and Alabama had rates of more than 20%.

The research was recently published in the journal called Preventive Medicine.

“The Affordable Care Act has made significant progress toward making preventive carefree for patients,” said the research co-author Paul Shafer, who is an assistant professor of health law, policy, and management at Boston University School of Public Health.

Shafar also stated in the release that “As with any benefit that has to be implemented by thousands of different health insurance plans that are subject to the ACA, it won’t always be perfect,” and that “We found that a majority of patients are receiving preventive care for free and those who were charged only paid about $20 or less. This is great news . . . but too many people are still footing the bill for care that most likely should be covered by their insurance plan.”

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