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Helping Your Patients Access the Care They Need

Providers need to be ready for more uninsured patients

Recently released US Census data found that the highest number of Americans are uninsured since the ACA was enacted in 2009. The number of uninsured rose by two million from 2017 to 2018. Included in this number is the increasing amount of uninsured children, which is estimated to be every one out of seven.

A question that has yet to be answered is how the 2019 roll-back of the ACA tax penalty for the uninsured will affect health insurance enrollment. While the tax penalty was still in effect in 2018, the census indicates the uninsured rate increased to 8.5% from 7.9% in 2017. Many believe this upward trend will continue (due to no tax penalty and higher insurance premiums). If that proves to be the case, the number of uninsured patients could rise to one out of every ten.

For healthcare providers that are already struggling with revenue management in the age of decreasing reimbursement, performance measure burdens, and in some cases new payment methodologies, the increasing amount of uninsured adds another level of complexity.

What can individual practices do to help their uninsured patients pay for care?

Access to community, state and federal resources

Communication is at the heart of providing the best care and care alternatives for your patients. Having resources at hand can give patients the information they need to access life-saving vaccinations and screenings they otherwise could not afford.

Community-based alternatives for vaccines and screenings:
For uninsured families with children, vaccines can be a significant expense. A list of community resources that offer free or discounted vaccines can provide an affordable alternative for families; visit or call your local health department for more information. Discounted mammograms and cervical cancer screenings are also available locally through organizations such as the National Breast Cancer Foundation, the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program. To find information about free or reduced-cost screening colonoscopies in your area, visit StopColonCancerNow.com.

State and federal programs:
Especially if there has been a sudden change in circumstance, some patients may not realize they are eligible for state and federal programs. Benefits.gov can help people learn about Medicare and other benefits ranging from disaster relief to help paying for public utilities. Medicaid benefit information can be found at Medicaid.gov.

Rectangle Health can help you offer payment plans and other convenient payment options to make health care more affordable.