Patients Increasingly Hiring Advocates To Help Navigate Difficult Health Situations
The Associated Press looks into the field of patient advocates, explaining the work they do and exploring whether they can save money. Also, a new study finds that even as many consumers face higher medical costs, fewer are contributing to health savings accounts.
The Associated Press:
Medical Expenses: Finding Your Way With A Patient Navigator
In today's health care system, consumers are increasingly on their own when these complex -- and often costly -- medical problems arise. Primary care doctors once helped patients manage such situations, but many physicians now have 15 minutes or less for each appointment. It's in this high-pressure environment that a new industry of patient advocates -- sometimes called patient navigators -- has emerged, offering to help guide patients through knotty health situations. (Perrone, 4/2)
Kaiser Health News:
Consumers Contributing Less To Health Savings Accounts, Study Finds
Even though consumers are digging deeper to cover rising out-of-pocket medical costs, they’re contributing less to health savings accounts that could help take the sting out of their expenses, according to a new study. Between 2011 and 2014, the percentage of people who said they contributed nothing to their health savings accounts (HSAs) more than doubled, to 23 percent, according to a survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute. Meanwhile, the percentage who said they contributed $1,500 or more dropped to 30 percent from 44 percent. (Andrews, 4/3)