TransUnion Healthcare issued a report on patient cost and the availability of revolving credit to cover such costs.  The report indicates that out-of-pocket costs for healthcare patients jumped more than 25% in the first half of 2013 and it’s likely they will increase even more in the next year, according to the latest TransUnion Healthcare Report. While out-of-pocket costs (average patient payment responsibility) on key medical procedures continued to grow at a faster rate, the available revolving credit for consumers declined nearly $1,000 in the last year.

TransUnion Healthcare reviewed anonymous data estimates from 200 hospitals across the nation focusing on patient payment responsibilities for key, commonly administered procedures, including major joint replacement, cesarean section and natural birth deliveries. That information was, in turn, compared with financial data gathered from TransUnion’s proprietary Industry Insights Report. Issued bi-annually, the TransUnion Healthcare Report looks at available revolving credit as an indicator on how consumers might cover out-of-pocket costs.

“The trend of growing consumer healthcare costs continued during the first six months of the year, and we suspect they may expand even more with the recent one-year grace period granted to some insurers for out-of-pocket expenses,” said Milton Silva-Craig, president of TransUnion Healthcare. “As a result of this extension, patients expecting to pay no more than the Affordable Care Act’s prescribed cap for out-of-pocket expenses may find that they owe both the maximum amount for hospital services and an additional maximum amount for prescription drugs. These added cost pressures will make it more difficult for patients to pay their bills, further burdening hospitals with the likelihood of more bad debt.”

Source:  TransUnion Healthcare