Healthcare Trends to Watch in 2020 - Part 2

By Kindred Hospital Rehabilitation Services

This is the second of a series of blogs covering five healthcare trends in 2020 that will impact rehabilitation programs. Read Part 1

3) Trend to Watch: Healthcare Consumerism Demands a Low-Cost, High-Quality, Cutting-Edge Product

A growing healthcare trend that will almost certainly ramp up in 2020 is “consumerism,” the concept that patients and their family members are taking even more ownership of care decisions based upon costs and their understanding of the full scope of options available to them based on research and trustworthy sources of information. In response, healthcare providers have been asked to respond with more price transparency and demonstrated quality outcomes.

Additionally, new technologies – such as wearable devices – provide consumers with new ways to engage in their own healthy living and in managing certain conditions. This is important because research demonstrates that increasing a patient’s participation in their care plan is associated with improved healthcare outcomes and reduced healthcare costs1.

Healthcare Trends to Watch in 2020 - Part 2

Why It Matters

With more than 80% of consumers researching their healthcare options online and the increased reliance on the reputation of a hospital, physician or provider before making healthcare decisions, costs and publicly-reported quality scores are increasingly important. This elevates the need for all health settings and health professionals to manage their online reputation, to ensure the highest quality outcomes that are reported on sites such as Medicare compare, and to increase transparency in terms of the patient’s out-of-pocket costs.

4) Trend to Watch: Growth in Medicare Advantage

Enrollment in Medicare Advantage (MA) plans more than doubled over the past 20 years – growing from 18% in 1999 to 36.7% in 2019.2 The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that the share of beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans will rise to about 47 percent by 2029.

More and more Americans are choosing to enroll in Medicare Advantage rather than traditional Medicare because of the perceived convenience and additional benefits touted by the managed care organizations. However, providers are increasingly finding that MA plans are discounting or ignoring physician decisions for the best and most clinically appropriate level of care for patients. Rather, plans are focusing on cost over optimal patient outcomes.

Why It Matters

With health services and setting-specific care being denied by MA plans, patients, their families and physicians are increasingly appealing the plan’s decisions. However, the appeals process can lead to delays in patients receiving the most appropriate care as well as significant additional administrative burden for physicians and care providers. Congressional leaders are taking notice, and in an initial effort to improve the Medicare Advantage appeals process, they have introduced the Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act (HR 3107). The legislation would reduce provider administrative burdens, increase transparency surrounding the use of prior authorization in MA, enable “real time” decisions by the plans, and seek beneficiary protections based on evidence-based medical guidelines to ensure continuity during a course of treatment.

Expect more Congressional activity and pressure from hospitals and health systems throughout 2020 to protect patient access to high-quality care in a timely manner.

To read more about the 2020 trends and how you can prepare your rehab unit for these changes click here to read our White Paper on this topic.


  1. Coulter A, Ellins J. Effectiveness of strategies for informing, educating, and involving patients. BMJ. 2007; 335(7609):24–7.
  2. Kaiser Family Foundation: Medicare Advantage, June 2019, https://www.kff.org/medicare/fact-sheet/medicareadvantage/
By Kindred Hospital Rehabilitation Services