Numerous factors, ranging from labor shortages and rising wage demands to increasingly complex insurance and more expensive equipment, are causing difficulty for bottom lines across the healthcare industry. An emerging trend is adding yet another layer of challenges for hospital revenue cycles: out-of-pocket payments from patients. Balances of over $7,500 have tripled since 2018, fewer patients are paying their out-of-pocket balance in full, and uncollectible “bad debt” is on the rise. These trends are likely to continue, and healthcare systems (as well as adjacent consumer industries) will need to remain agile to withstand the pressure.
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