Karen Minich-Pourshadi, for HealthLeaders Media
, December 6, 2010
High Deductible Health Plans. It seems whenever payers are involved, someone, other than them, loses money. High-deductible health plans have been around for years, however, the slow economy has forced more than a few businesses nationwide to foist healthcare costs onto their already financially beleaguered employees. Lo and behold, a few years into this economic mess and more companies are using these health plans than any other. That doesn’t likely bode well for hospitals, however. Though it’s still too early to tell, you can bet that hospitals will likely take a loss on folks who have these types of plans, because many may not have the out-of-pocket deductible money readily available when illness befalls them.
Mergers and Acquisitions. The healthcare landscape is changing more every day, not just because of legislation, but due to a bevy of merger and acquisition activity. For the most part, these transactions bring about a lot of positives. They help hospitals stay open in the communities they serve and they often help the purchaser grow into untapped markets. Growth equals a stronger bottom line and also gives the purchaser greater leverage with payers during contract negotiations. Expect to see more M&A activity in the coming year and be sure to watch that one of these transactions doesn’t put you at a disadvantage in your market.
As 2010 draws to a close, try to keep all these challenges in perspective. No one knows what lies ahead for 2011, so the best financial leaders can do is keep informed and make educated “guess-timates” on the financial forecast for this year and beyond.
Karen Minich-Pourshadi is a Senior Editor with HealthLeaders Media.
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