The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed in 2010 with the purpose of expanding healthcare coverage for more Americans and to extend eligibility for Medicaid. Singularly these can all be good things for Americans, but it’s important to examine the extent of costs the ACA will trigger.
As access to healthcare becomes more difficult, more business leaders will look for direct access to care for their medical plans. We will see a shift from public to private plans, from employer to individual plans. Patients will explore non-traditional opportunities for receiving medical care.
The medical tourism industry is already a growing industry where patients seek the best care available for their money. As consumer awareness continues to rise on these issues, more international facilities will increase their level of care and document outcomes to provide more confidence to consumers. In the near future we will see more patients traveling for medical treatment across states and countries.
Because of rising overhead costs and declining reimbursement combined with decreasing coverage by insurance companies, another trend we are already observing is that of subscription-based care. Subscription-based care is where a patient places a physician on an annual retainer or provides monthly fees in exchange for care. Subscription-based care is called many things, direct care, concierge care and retainer-based medicine. For an annual or monthly fee, the consumer receives an agreed amount of services by the physician. Many of these patients still carry insurance to cover healthcare issues not covered through the agreement.
Though no one can see into the future, I am hopeful. As healthcare leaders we can only look to trends and adapt to provide quality healthcare with superior patient experiences. The ACA will create challenges for our industry, but we are a country of innovation. The ACA provides more people access to healthcare, a good thing. Declining reimbursements and increased overhead is a challenge, so healthcare leaders must continue to respond with creative solutions to remain profitable while bettering lives. With the changes we will also be given market opportunities, and they are emerging through options such as patient exchanges, concierge care and direct access.
Nueterra must focus on our purpose for being in healthcare. Regardless of our roles as physicians, nurses or support systems, we exist to better the lives of those around us. I hope our lives are better in four years. I hope our policies are stronger and our country is positioned for a brighter future. And because of the Affordable Care Act and healthcare leaders, I hope more people are receiving quality care and are living healthier lives.
Chief Operating Officer