The rising cost of healthcare has captured national attention for over two decades. This comes as no surprise given that healthcare spending accounts for approximately 1 in every 6 dollars spent in the United States each year.  In the midst of all that spending, medical bad debt has risen to the crisis stage for many providers across the country.

But even as healthcare providers try to contend with declining payments from all payers, they must also face some troubling yet unmistakable facts: more treatment of the growing population of baby boomers and their increasing medical needs; increased number of uninsured or underinsured individuals; larger co-pays and deductibles passed on from employers to employees and Medicare eligible seniors; and the resulting increase in self-pay populations.

Did you know?

  • A 2010 TransUnion survey of healthcare organizations across the U.S. found that almost a quarter of survey respondents said that their facility or system had a bad debt percentage between 5.1 and 10 percent.
  • The amount of bad debt accumulated by hospitals across the country is currently estimated at $40 billion to $60 billion a year, according to TriCap Technology Group.

NCO Group and recently published a new Info Brief that assesses the chronic bad debt crisis at hospitals, clinics, physician groups, and other healthcare providers in all 50 U.S. states.

The Brief, entitled Tips to Prepare for the Rise in Healthcare Bad Debt, investigates some of the economic forces that contribute to the rise in unpaid medical bills; assesses the range of complexities inherent to the self-pay process in America; suggests three concise steps providers can take to reduce self-pay bad debt immediately; and poses a thorough list of questions healthcare finance professionals can ask themselves to determine how prepared their organizations are to manage the inevitable rise in unpaid medical bills.

For a free download of Tips to Prepare for the Rise in Healthcare Bad Debt: a prescription for hospitals’ fiscal well-being click here.


Michael Klozotsky is the Chief Content Officer at and Follow insidePatientFinance on Twitter @insidePF.

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