The Rundown | Week of 4.23.2018

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Patients’ Phobia of Bills

A growing number of patients are avoiding the doctor’s office out of a fear of expensive bills. While healthcare costs are growing, the number of doctor visits have declined. In 2016, the per-person healthcare cost in the U.S. hit $10,000 per year. In the last 12 months, 44 percent of Americans named financial concerns as a reason for skipping their visit, even when sick or injured. Studies have shown that 86 percent of those who opted out of care are insured. The Cleveland Clinic President and CEO Tom Mihaljevic said, “One of the most important consequences of skipping medical care or delaying care ultimately impacts the quality of care, impacts the outcome,” and, “Untimely visits or delay of visits to the physician ultimately leads to the increased cost of care.”
>> Read more: Why Healthcare Costs Are Making Consumers More Afraid of Medical Bills Than an Actual Illness

AI’s Role in healthcare

It’s no secret that artificial intelligence (AI) is making its way into healthcare; AI might even become an essential tool in the near future. A recent report by Accenture investigated the impact of the technology versus the implementations costs by analyzing the “near-term value” of AI applications. The report studied 10 AI applications that showed the most potential for having a near-term impact in medicine. The analysts examined each application’s impact, likelihood of adoption, and value to the health economy. The findings indicate that by 2026, AI applications will save the U.S. healthcare economy an estimated $150 billion annually.
>> Read more: The Three Most Valuable Applications of AI in Healthcare

New Tax Penalty Exemptions for Lacking Health Insurance

There are more than a dozen exemptions to avoid the tax penalty for not having health insurance, and that number is increasing. Recently, the government decided to add four more “hardship exemptions,” which reduce or eliminate uninsured taxpayers’ “fine” if there isn’t a marketplace plan that fits certain criteria.  The new exemptions excuse taxpayers who have no plans available in their area, have only one plan available, have no plans that preclude abortion coverage, or other extenuating circumstances.Policy analysts say it is difficult to determine this update’s impact as the existing tax penalty will be eliminated by tax year 2019.
>> Read more: Four New Exemptions to the Tax Penalty for Lacking Health Insurance

It Might Cost $280 Thousand for Couples Who Are Retiring

Saving for retirement can be quite stressful. How much do you save exactly? Healthcare expenses are a major cost, and therefore a major consideration. According to a new report from Fidelity, couples retiring this year will need $280,000 to cover their healthcare and medical expenses over the course of retirement. Single women will need $147,000 and single men will need $133,000. This estimate has jumped 2 percent from last year. The report’s retirement age is 65 for men and women, though the lifetime for men is 87 and 89 for women.The report includes costs such as traditional Medicare insurance coverage, premiums, deductibles, copayments, and out-of-pocket drug costs, but excludes the cost of long-term care in a nursing home.
>> Read more: Healthcare Could Cost Couples $280,000 in Retirement

Google Joining the Playing Field for Healthcare

Recently, more tech giants have joined the field of healthcare, and Google wants in. A report from CB Insights shows Google is leveraging AI to tackle healthcare. Google employs AI across its various divisions to combat disease with data generation, disease detection, lifestyle management, and other innovative approaches.Google hopes to help in the fight against diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, heart disease, and multiple sclerosis and also focus on cancer and behavioral health. The company partnered with Johnson & Johnson to create Verb Surgical, a startup that aims to arm surgeons with AI capabilities such as robotics, visualization, data analytics, and much more.
>> Read more: Here’s How Google is Leveraging AI for Its Healthcare Endeavors

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