Many healthcare consumers surprised and confused by out-of-pocket costs and bills

Radiology groups are continuously being required to run their businesses more efficiently due to the current healthcare environment, in which reimbursements are declining and consumers are shouldering more of their own healthcare expenses under the new healthcare law. Despite the shift in financial responsibility, consumers don’t seem to know about it. More than 60 percent of consumers surveyed by TransUnion Healthcare reported that they are sometimes or always surprised by out-of-pocket healthcare costs. Additionally, more than half reported being confused over the healthcare bills they receive.

The survey questioned 7,500 insured patients throughout the country from May to June. It is the fourth in a series of TransUnion Healthcare reports that examine patient billing experiences as the healthcare system is transformed by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and other market dynamics.

“I think there is still confusion about reform and how it will impact them, specifically (patients’) out-of-pocket experience,” said Dave Wojczynski, senior vice president of TransUnion Healthcare.

Amidst much talk about increasing price transparency in healthcare, the TransUnion survey respondents also reported that receiving pre-treatment cost estimates and pre-treatment insurance coverage estimates would be either “helpful” or “extremely helpful” in managing their medical costs.  

Radiology groups’ ability to provide consumers with estimates of their responsibility at time of service may help to increase awareness of their out-of-pocket costs and help them to take a more active role in spending their healthcare dollars.