We noticed an article on Bloomberg this week about the healthcare industry, and the frustration some medical practices are experiencing with high-deductible healthcare plans — that patients with those plans aren’t paying their bills on time, forcing medical practices to spend more time collecting overdue debts.
Interesting, we thought, because Calcbench grumbles about health insurance costs as much as anyone else these days. So how might a financial analyst following healthcare companies use our data to get a clearer sense of that problem in the companies you follow?
We did a quick experiment here using lab testing kingpin Quest Diagnostics as the target.
First, we visited our Multi-Company Page and entered Quest as our company to study. Immediately results started appearing on our screen, of both Quest and its peers: Laboratory Corp. of America, First Choice Healthcare Solutions, Genomic Health, and a bunch more.
A good start, but the standard results you see are revenue, operating income, operating cash flow, and assets. We wanted to explore unpaid debts and how that line item may be changing over time.
Well, unpaid debts are reported as account receivables. So we went to the Search Standardized Metrics field above our list of results and started typing in “receivables.” Right away, one option that came up was “increase or decrease in receivables.” We selected that one, and a new column of data appeared listing that change for each company we were staring at.
Better, but we specifically want to see the changes reported at Quest over the last several years. How do to that?
Move your cursor back to the listing for Quest Diagnostics on the left side, and a few options will magically appear — including one that says “history.” (We’ve enhanced the image below and noted it in red.
Click on the history feature, and you’ll see a period-by-period summary for each line item for that specific company you selected. See Figure 2, below.
Now we can see the historical data we wanted to find. Then it’s a matter of exporting that data to Excel (shout here for our Excel Add-In feature), so you can run whatever analysis you want. We decided to compare period-by-period trends in revenue and change in account receivables. You can clearly see the trend line for revenue is going up, while the trend in receivables is going down.
So yes, Quest might be having more difficulty collecting payment from patients with high-deductible plans, but the data doesn’t suggest any calamity that might be material to the company. You could also then visit our Interactive Disclosures page to dive into the data more deeply, perhaps searching for “deductible” or “debts” in the narrative disclosures for more detail.
Most important for Calcbench users is simply the ease of finding all this data. We ran these searches within a few minutes. Professional analysts who know exactly what they want to search can do the same, and get results with, well, surgical precision.
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