Patient Financial Responsibility

With each passing year, the entire healthcare system is becoming more stressful for patients and providers alike. According to Black Book’s “Revenue Cycle Management” report, patients averaged more than $6,200 in out-of-pocket expenses and deductibles during 2017. The same survey found that 82% of providers struggled to collect outstanding patient balances through traditional payment methods.  Although taking a consumer-first approach to service is typically a retail strategy, more and more healthcare providers are considering this method in an attempt to ease the process for patients, and therefore increase business and collections for the provider.

In order to prioritize patient satisfaction, any healthcare system must understand the patient’s struggle and adapt their services accordingly. Let’s examine three common, yet easily addressable common patient pain points.

Pain Point #1: Patient Financial Responsibility Confusion

Patients feeling confused about their financial obligations is a common issue within the healthcare system that creates extra stress for both patient and practice. In fact, 74% of patients reported feeling confused about their medical bills.

When a patient feels unclear about their bill, they must take inconvenient steps to clarify what and why they owe, dragging the payment process out much longer. Medical practices then must execute additional resources to collect. These unnecessary steps could be avoided by simply designing a personalized medical bill that clearly depicts a patient’s financial obligation with distinctive instructions for making a payment or reaching help via a customer service number or website.

Often times, elderly or Spanish-speaking patients especially struggle to find the correct contact information to discuss issues with the bill. They attempt to contact the collection company or statement vendor instead of the actual practice itself.

Designing a functional billing statement with clear information regarding the patient’s expenses helps reduce confusion from the start. However, it’s also important to clearly provide help options for the patients who may need extra clarification.

Patient Financial Confusion and the Impact on Patient Payments

Pain Point #2: Lack of Patient Payment Options

The technology needed to simplify the healthcare bill payment process is here, and easier to implement than you may think. So why do 77% of providers still use traditional, paper-based collection methods when 52% of patients prefer electronic-based communications?

Electronic statements (eStatements) send directly to the patient’s email, where they are much more likely to be seen and responded to compared to a snail-mailed statement.

Technology-based payment methods complement the eStatement. By implementing a branded payment portal, the practice can easily receive online payments guided from the eStatement. Simply logging in on a desktop or mobile device allows the patient to pay their outstanding balance in seconds, similarly to many other services.

Other technology-based payment methods provide enough variety to please a wide range of patients, which increases the number of collections and reduces the amount of time the balance remains unpaid. These options include:

  • QR Code scans
  • Text-to-pay
  • Credit card on file (CCOF)

And more!

Including a variety of technology-based payment options in addition to traditional collection methods ensures that each and every patient can pay in their preferred method, increasing satisfaction for all.

Pain Point #3: Lack of Price Transparency

Consumers compare prices between sellers for nearly every large purchase, and the inability to do so in the healthcare system results in heightened frustration for the patient. More and more healthcare systems are making their prices available to researching patients, who then pick a provider based on the simplicity and competitiveness of the pricing. Practices who decide against this are ultimately left out of the comparison altogether.

Patients who experience some or all of these pain points within your healthcare system likely will seek out another practice that takes patient satisfaction into higher consideration. Shifting to a patient-focused strategy will increase patient satisfaction, which results in better reviews, return business, and timely payments.

MailMyStatements is a technology-driven billing and payment vendor that specializes in simplifying the collection process for both patient and provider. Get in touch with us to learn how you can implement easy statement and payment options today!

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Heather Turnbaugh is the Content and Social Media Marketing Manager at MailMyStatements. She enjoys snowboarding, working out, and napping.

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