A survey reveals patients' experiences with challenging a bill with their physician, hospital, or insurance company.
Over 2,000 Americans were polled between March 9-14, 2022, including 179 adults with employer-sponsored high-deductible health plans, to gauge patient experience with disputed medical bills. Nearly two-thirds of respondents (64%) reported having never challenged the validity or accuracy of a bill with their physician, hospital, or health insurance company. That figure shot up to 78% for uninsured individuals, while those with high-deductible health plans (45%) and Medicare Advantage (43%) were more likely to contend bills.
"Despite all the negative experiences many patients have with getting surprise bills, we've been conditioned not to question or challenge medical bills we receive," said Amy Raymond, VP of revenue cycle operations at AKASA. "While providers need to take a close look at their revenue cycle department to prevent those billing mistakes in the first place, we also need to drive awareness among consumers that they can indeed push back on a bill that is simply incorrect."
Of the respondents who had challenged a bill, 78% reported getting charges reduced or removed. However, the time it took to resolve the disputed bill varied, sometimes taking longer than half a year. More than a quarter of respondents (27%) said it took one to three months, while 18% said it took three to six months and 16% said it took more than six months.
For providers and revenue cycle departments, ensuring the billing experience is as smooth as possible for patients can pay dividends. According to a recent survey of 1,000 patients by RevSpring, 56% of respondents said they would likely switch providers if they had a poor billing experiencing, which was especially true for patients aged 18 to 26 (74%).
Patients value personalization and consistency, which means getting the bill right the first time.
Jay Asser is an associate editor for HealthLeaders.
In addition, 58% said they would be unwilling to pay for weight loss measures to address health risks tied to obesity, and 53% said they would not pay for depression screenings.
Fifty-two percent said they would not pay for HIV screenings if their insurance no longer covered them.About a quarter (23%) of those surveyed said preventive care is one of the most important services for health plans to over.
A group of health policy strategists wrote in The New England Journal of Medicine that caution is needed when considering whether Medicare should cover obesity drugs such as Novo Nordisk's Wegovy, which have shown a high level of effectiveness in helping people lose weight. They point out that there would be a significant cost burden for Medicare, which likely would lead to premium hikes, and they also note that the drugs may offer a less desirable risk-benefit balance for older people than for other age groups.
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As clocks march ahead and daylight saving time begins this weekend, you may be anxious about losing an hour of sleep and how to adjust to this change.
Even though it's technically just one hour lost due to the time change, the amount of sleep deprivation due to disrupted sleep rhythm lasts for many days and often throws people off schedule, leading to cumulative sleep loss.
Many studies have demonstrated that there is an increased risk of heart attack, stroke and high blood pressure associated with sleep deprivation. Workplace injuries increase and so do automobile accidents. Adolescents often find it harder to wake up in time to get to school and may have difficulties with attention and school performance or worsening of mental health problems.
Is there something to be done to help to deal with this loss of sleep and change of body clock timing?
We lead a sleep evaluation center at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh and regularly see patients who are dealing with sleep loss and whose internal clocks are not synchronized with external time. Our experience has shown us that it's important to prepare, as much as possible, for the time shift that occurs every spring.
Here are some quick tips to prepare yourself for the time shift.
Don't start with a "sleep debt"Ensure that you and, if you're a parent, your child get adequate sleep regularly, especially leading up to the time change each year. Most adults need anywhere from seven to nine hours of sleep daily to perform adequately. Children have varying requirements for sleep depending on their age.
Earlier to bed — and to riseGoing to bed — and for parents, putting your kids to bed — 15 to 20 minutes earlier each night in the week before the time change is ideal. Having an earlier wake time can help you get to sleep earlier.
Try to wake up an hour earlier than is customary on Saturday, the day before the time change. If you aren't able to make changes to your sleep schedule in advance, then keep a very consistent wake time on weekdays as well as weekends to adjust to the time change more easily.
Use light to your advantageLight is the strongest cue for adjusting the internal body clock. Expose yourself to bright light upon waking as you start getting up earlier in the week before daylight saving time starts. This resets your internal clock in the right direction. If you live in a place where natural light is limited in the morning after clocks change, use bright artificial light to signal your body clock to wake up earlier. As the season progresses, this will be less of an issue as the sun rises earlier in the day.
At night, minimize exposure to bright light and especially the blue light emitted by the screens of electronic media. This light exposure late in the day can be enough to shift your body rhythm and signal your internal clock to wake up later the next day. If your devices permit, set their screens to dim and emit less blue light in the evening.
Carefully plan day and evening activities.The night before the time change, set yourself up for a good night's sleep by incorporating relaxing activities that can help you wind down, such as reading a book or meditating.
Incorporate exercise in the morning or early in the day. Take a walk, even if it is just around the house or your office during the day.
Pay more attention to what you eat and drink this weekConsider starting with a protein-heavy breakfast, since sleep deprivation can increase appetite and craving for high-carbohydrate foods and sugars.
Stop using caffeine after noon. Consuming coffee, tea, cola, chocolate or other sources of caffeine too late in the day can lead to trouble falling asleep and even disrupt sleep.
Adults, decline that wine at bedtime. Wine and other kinds of alcohol can also disturb sleep.
Be especially gentle with yourself and the kidsIf you're a parent or caregiver, try to be patient with your kids as they adjust to the new times. Sleep deprivation affects the entire family, and some kids have a harder time adjusting to the time change than others. You may notice more frequent meltdowns, irritability and loss of attention and focus. Set aside more quiet, electronic media-free time in the evening. Consider a brief — 20 minutes or so — nap in the early afternoon for younger children who are having a difficult time dealing with this change. Prioritizing sleep pays off in the short term and over the years. A good night's sleep is a necessary ingredient for a productive and fulfilling day.