Previously, I wrote about how the US healthcare system imposes $90 billion of costs on physicians related to drug utilization management. According to a study by Kyle and Frakt (2021), the U.S. healthcare system also imposes a significant burden on patients as well. The authors use the 2019 Health Reform Monitoring Survey (HRMS) to answer this question. Administrative burden is measured as having to complete one of the following tasks in the past 12 months: scheduling, obtaining information, prior authorizations, resolving billing issues, and resolving premium problem.
Based on the responses from 4,155 individuals, the authors find that:
Seventy-three percent of respondents reported performing at least one administrative task in the past year. About one in three task-doers, or 24.4% of respondents overall, reported delayed or foregone care due to an administrative task: Adjusted for demographics, disability status had the strongest association with administrative tasks (adjusted odds ratio [OR] 2.91, p < 0.001) and burden (adjusted OR 1.66, p < 0.001) …Among the people who undertook an administrative task, one in three (33.4%) reported either delaying for forgoing needed health care because of an administrative task…Delayed care (30.9%) was more common than foregone care (21.5%), but people often experienced both.
As anyone who has needed medical care recently can attest, we certainly can make the U.S. healthcare system more patient-friendly.