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The debate around healthcare is a popular and often controversial topic. At ABCS RCM we are monitoring this debate in order to stay up-to-date on any health insurance changes. Making predictions in healthcare is notoriously difficult, with the best analysis ending up incorrect. But in the spirit of inquiry, here are five changes that will likely occur in the U.S. health care industry in 2017.

[1] The healthcare marketplace will likely continue to consolidate, with larger insurance providers becoming increasingly able to leverage an economy of scale approach. These larger companies will want to promote bundled payments in order to control expenses. This may include the narrowing of network offerings and focusing on health professionals who specialize in particular areas. The concept of value-added health care will drive many of these changes.

[2] Premiums for many healthcare plans will likely increase due to a number of factors. Economic drivers like medical inflation, more expensive insurance claims and high-cost for pharmaceutical will push overall rates higher. The price for prescription drugs alone is predicted by many to greatly increase by the end of the year. Many analysts are predicting that healthcare insurance plans will likely experience rising cost, while new technological advancements and bundled payments models become more common.

[3] Congresses will repeal or alter the Health Care Education and Reconciliation Act, which provides tax credits for purchasing individual healthcare plans for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) otherwise known as Obamacare. If changes are made to the existing act, millions of Americans could lose their healthcare coverage. Funding for Medicaid is one of the primary focal points in this debate. As of February 2017, a total of 68,927,127 Americans were enrolled in Medicaid, while 5,579,792 individuals were enrolled in the CHIP program (Children’s Health Insurance Program).

[4] New technological inventions and services will expand in 2017. These will range from EHRs with a better user interface, home delivery for prescription medicine or the expanded use of telehealth (remote access treatment). In order to control cost and increase productivity, larger companies will offer on-site/at work primary healthcare. So, employees will be able to visit a company health professional while physically still at work.

[5] American-based Health systems and hospitals will push to expand their offerings outside of the United States. This international focus will help to meet a demand for quality healthcare in many parts of the world. These satellite branches will help U.S. health systems become more diversified and resilient to any changes in the United States healthcare marketplace. Technological advances are also making this expansion more feasible and profitable.

As the year progresses, ABCS will continue to track these changes in healthcare. It is clear, that the only thing that is a constant – is change itself.

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ABCS RCM, healthcare predictions, insurance providers, Medicaid