Expect More Medical Debt in the Wake of COVID-19

In the aftermath of the pandemic, consumers who had thought they would be shielded from the costs for
testing and treatment might find themselves with unexpected bills for
related services. Others will know the bills are coming but simply have
no way to pay for them, as furloughs and job cuts take their toll on
household budgets.

“High-deductible health plans’ popularity, while undeniable, has an impact on medical debt Collections,” the report’s authors note. “This factor may well be compounded if the Affordable Care Act coverages offered to the public are rolled back, or if Medicaid expansions are not adopted across more states, giving patients some form of a financial cushion against medical bills that may cause hardship.”

“At a macro level, health plans must consider and plan for some form of a public health plan or Medicare for All option to combat medical-bill-related problems,” the report suggests. “While this is not a certainty, COVID-19, an ensuing recession, and presidential elections on the horizon are a call to action for health plans to review their business models, go to market, and make any major pivot decisions at a 30,000-foot view.”

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