There are many healthcare trends to watch in 2016. Many of these trends will impact patients, because these changes will affect how care is delivered. Other changes will affect physicians because of payments from programs like Medicare. It is important to keep up with these healthcare trends, as the more involved patients are in their care, the better the chance they have of getting the best care possible. Technology will also impact healthcare trends as systems are eliminated that didn’t work in key areas of healthcare.
According to Health Affairs, one of the important healthcare trends affecting seniors relates to MACRAnomics. The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) is a program that relates to the payments physicians receive and how much those payments are. Currently, there is a limit on this program that will be eliminated in 2016. This program was enacted in 2015 to replace the Sustainable Growth Rate payment plan previously in place for physician payment. The changes in this system will deeply impact payments to physicians. Since the system won’t be fully implemented until 2019, it’s important that physicians begin learning about this system works now, so they know how to use it and avoid payment delays.
One of the cost-saving healthcare trends that is evolving is telemedicine. For those with chronic illnesses, or those needing daily monitoring, it is both a cost efficient and effective way to manage treatment. Researchers estimate that it will reduce the costs of managing diabetes by at least nine percent. Phoenix-based Banner Health also introduced telemedicine and produced a 27 percent savings on the cost of care. The benefit to patients is that it also reduced hospital stays and stays at long-term care facilities.
Pharmaceuticals are another area where consumers will see a major change. One of the problems for healthcare systems is the rising cost of drugs. There will be a major focus and action on driving the competition of drugs in order to bring the cost of drugs down. Anticipate the FDA commissioner to prioritize the speed and market access for drug approval.
The Fiscal Times listed 10 different healthcare trends that would affect consumers in 2016. The most important is arguably that consumers will pay more money for their healthcare in 2016. Not only will healthcare costs increase, consumers will also pay higher deductibles. The higher cost of healthcare has also caused consumers to postpone treatments because of the higher cost.
The upside for healthcare trends is that consumers will have better opportunities to shop around for the care they want and need. Many consumers are choosing lower-cost plans with higher deductibles in the hopes they won’t need medical care in the future. One added benefit is that because consumers are so price conscious, many insurers are offering apps and information on their websites to provide transparency on care and pricing.
— Simon Smith (@simonsmith) January 6, 2016
Another healthcare trend consumers are using to save both time and money is that rather than making appointments with their doctors, they are choosing to use walk-in clinics. Many of these clinics are located in pharmacies, retail chains or supermarkets. Consumers get access to care much more quickly, and they save money, too.
Many businesses are opting to leave behind traditional healthcare plans in favor of private networks. These networks, similar to a website like Travelocity, allow employees to shop around for their healthcare and choose a plan that is right for them. Companies give employees a set amount they can spend within these exchanges. For employees who want a more robust plan, they must pay the added expense out of pocket. Healthcare trends like these give employees more options, while saving both the employee and their respective employer a lot of money.
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