High deductibles may be keeping some patients from getting the care they really need—clearly a risk for them but also a possible impediment to healthcare reform in the U.S., according to a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Not mentioned is the fact that urgent care may offer a solution to at least one of those challenges by offering care whose cost is scaled to the appropriate acuity level. The study points out that deductibles are on the rise, on average, forcing many patients to think long and hard before committing to a medical visit. Lead author Elliott Fisher, MD, et al wrote that “substantial or poorly targeted cost sharing [ie, deductibles] could easily undermine approaches” to closer attention to disease prevention, primary care, and chronic disease management. One possible solution proposed would be to exempt visits to certain settings (eg, primary care) from deductibles. Urgent care operators would be well advised to keep an eye on state and federal legislative initiatives.

Study: High Deductibles May Inhibit Adequate Care
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