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Growing Focus on Outpatient Care Saving Health Plans, Consumers Money

02/24/16

  11:17:00 pm, by MedBen5   , 189 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management, Hospitals, Cost savings, Heart, Research

Growing Focus on Outpatient Care Saving Health Plans, Consumers Money

A new series of studies show that employer health plans can save thousands of dollars by encouraging the use of outpatient facilities for certain medical treatments, Forbes reports.

The studies examined four common medical procedures – hysterectomy, lumbar/spine surgery, angioplasty and gallbladder removal – that cost health plan members and their employers $11 billion in 2014. Once performed strictly in hospitals and necessitating inpatient stays, advancements in medical technology now enable physicians to offer these procedures on an outpatient basis, saving plan and patient alike from the added costs associated with hospital stays.

outpatient cost comparison

As the table above demonstrates, the total per-procedure costs in 2014 for outpatient care was substantially lower compared to inpatient treatment, ranging from $4,505 for hysterectomies to $17,530 for angioplasties. Moreover, patients who chose the outpatient option also realized significant out-of-pocket savings.

While not all medical treatments are available on an outpatient basis, the number of procedures has grown in recent years, likely contributing to the slower rise in health care spending during the past decade. The ongoing shift away from fee-from-service care to a value-based system has also encouraged the health care industry to find more efficient methods of delivering medical services.

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