Welcome back to Insider News! This week, we have statistics on Massachusetts' health insurance mandate, technology trends and applying the 'Amazon experience' to health care, and information on Americans' medical debt.
Mass. fined 32,106 individuals this year, based on their insurance status in tax year 2018, compared to 33,693 last year. But the average penalty paid this year - $429 - is up nearly 20%, and so is the total amount the state expects to collect overall. The more than $11 million in penalties paid so far this year will be used to subsidize insurance for low- and moderate-income residents. The penalties for tax year 2019 range from $264 a year for any individual earning between $18,744 and $24,984, up to $1,524 for someone earning more than $37,476.
Health care leaders identified three trends in how technology will shape their efforts in 2020:
- Health technology helps identify high-risk patients: Population health technology is working to understand individual patient needs, triaging them and connecting at-risk populations with resources that can address SDoH. Steve Miff, CEO of Dallas-based Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation, advocates for person-centered community-based care led by AI and machine learning tools. He expects to see more activity to address isolation and mental and physical health, particularly around models to address and scale services for mental behavioral health.
- Leaning on tech to ease patient access to care: Chris Pace, Senior Director of Digital Marketing at Banner Health, said the health system is invested in driving traffic to its website, recognizing the importance of not only being present in a Google search but having a strong, navigable website that helps patients connect with the care they need. Banner is also looking to add more patient-facing technology tools that make healthcare a commodity patients can access the same way they'd access Amazon or Uber.
- Making care management an Amazon experience: Mikelle Moore, SVP for community health at Intermountain Healthcare, believes providers need to be more digital in their engagement and as responsive and easy to access as Amazon and other digital platform based organizations. She says Intermountain is finding "pockets of success" as it engages people in diabetes prevention and medical care using different technologies.
Only 45% of Americans have used savings or available cash to pay for a medical expense in the past year, according to Freedom Debt Relief's survey on healthcare costs. If faced with a $2,000 medical emergency, only 35% would use savings or available cash to cover it. The majority of Americans have $1,000 in medical debt or more, with 10% owing to $20,000 or more for health-related expenses. Other findings include:
- 42% have had to charge medical expenses on a credit card
- 19% have borrowed money from family or friends
- 11% sold something
- 8% have gotten a cash advance
- 7% took out a personal loan
- 6% got a payday loan