More than 80 percent of patients with high-deductible health insurance don’t take advantage of preventative care because they are unaware such services are free, a newly published survey has found.

This represents a big opportunity for providers, especially within Patient Financial Services and Patient Access, who need to make certain that patient-facing staff, including clinical, are educating their patients about these benefits.

The report, “In Consumer-Directed Health Plans, A Majority Of Patients Were Unaware Of Free Or Low-Cost Preventive Care,” was prepared primarily by researchers from the Kaiser Permanente Research Institute. While it has been well known that patients with high-deductible plans are less likely to seek out preventative care than those with plans with lower deductibles, the researchers found the root cause, at least for more than four out of five patients: They don’t know they can get preventative care such as screenings at no cost.

This means that potentially more than 15 percent of all patients are unaware they can get preventative care for free. For providers, this represents an overlooked source of revenue and, more importantly, an opportunity to improve the overall care of patients.

High-deductible health plans represent the fastest growing segment (8 percent to 26 percent of all workers with employer insurance since 2007) in the health insurance industry, and the prognosis is that it will continue to grow as a way for employers to keep health insurance costs in check.

See also:

Expansion of High-Deductible Plans Increases Importance of Patient Financial Services

Massachusetts Hospitals Seek to Shift High Deductibles to Insurers