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TransUnion Analysis Finds 1 in 3 patients Defer Healthcare Due to Existing Medical Debt

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The number of financial assistance transactions processed by TransUnion Healthcare increased 55% between September 2020 and September 2021. A new analysis from TransUnion Healthcare released at the HFMA Annual Conference indicates hospitals are more proactively working with patients to understand their financial needs and provide them appropriate options.

The data reflect millions of financial assistance transactions, from more than 1,000 hospitals and physician practices, conducted through TransUnion Healthcare in order to validate identity, determine charity options and assess a patients’ ability and propensity to pay. TransUnion Healthcare began collecting this data in September 2018 and has tracked an upward year-over-year trend, amounting to a 270% increase since that time.

While the increased number of financial assistance transactions was likely exacerbated by the economic downturn caused by the pandemic, Jonathan Wiik, principal of healthcare strategy at TransUnion Healthcare, said other factors, like hospital billing practices also played a role.

Prior research by TransUnion found 70% of patients said knowing costs before a procedure helps them anticipate charges and budget for payments, and 65% said they would make at least a partial payment if an advance estimate were provided.

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