In this week's Insider News, we're sharing information on surprise bills after surgery, how job flexibility can help manage mental illness, consumer willingness to share health data, and the CDC's first maternal mortality estimate in 10 years.
Tracking data from almost 350,000 patients with a large commercial insurer, researchers found more than 20% were hit with an unpaid balance, according to a study. The average bill was over $2,000. The study found most of the surprise bills come from either anesthesiologists or surgical assistants - who are typically not chosen by patients. The study arrives while Congress is debating how to address this problem with two bills under discussion.
According to the results of FlexJobs' Work-Life-Relationship survey, 84% of respondents who have mental illnesses said they thought having a flexible job would help them better manage their mental illnesses. In addition, 35% of all respondents said they've had to take a break from work because of personal circumstances. Of those, 88% said if their job offered flexibility during those circumstances, they would have been able to remain in the workforce.
The survey suggests flexible work arrangements can have a positive impact not only on managing mental health, but also improving work-life balance, physical health, romantic relationships and overall well-being. Key findings include:
- 95% reported a flexible job would likely make them a happier person in general.
- 88% said having a flexible job would create more time to spend with family.
- 94% of those with children (or planning to have them) thought a flexible job would help them be a better parent.
- 80% thought having a job with work flexibility would help them be a more attentive spouse/partner/significant other.
- 54% of those with flexible work options said their work-life balance was either great or very good, compared to 29% of respondents without flexible work options.
- 21% of those with flexible work options say they're stressed by their level of work-life balance, while 43% working without flexible options said the same thing.
According to Oliver Wyman's 2018 Consumer Survey of U.S. health care, consumers are willing to share their health information for the right value proposition. It found 63% of consumers are willing to share their data to ensure their medical care is the highest quality possible. And, 41% of consumers are willing to share their shopping behavior to ensure top-notch medical care, as well.
Regulation and technology are forcing data out of closed ecosystems into an environment where consumers control their data and share it with whomever they choose, whenever they want. As consumers take ownership of their data, there will be shifts in control for health care businesses. Companies with compelling consumer value will earn the right to create economic models for their shareholders and be better positioned to impact health care costs and future outcomes.
According to a CDC report, the U.S. maternal mortality rate in 2018 was 17.4 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, or 658 total deaths. The report marks the first new data on maternal mortality rates released by the agency in over a decade, as the CDC had paused on releasing such reports over concerns the data collected was incomplete and potentially incorrect. But as of 2017, all 50 states included some type of checkbox on death certificates.
CDC researchers found that the overall maternal mortality rate was 17.4 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2018, and that the maternal mortality rate increased with age. According to the report, women over the age of 40 died at a rate of 81.9 per 100,000 births, making them more than seven times as likely to die from maternal-related causes than women under age 25.