1) Avoid Patient Sticker Shock, Be Cost Transparent
Patient or consumer? In the healthcare marketplace, these terms are becoming increasingly synonymous. Now more than ever, patients are shopping around for their healthcare needs. 92% want to know their costs up front and 75% say that understanding out-of-pocket costs increases their likelihood to pay for healthcare.
To accommodate these growing demands, some providers are incorporating financial education processes into their patient payment experience. For example, Iroquois Memorial Hospital in Illinois implemented a patient financial responsibility education strategy that increased point-of-service patient collection rate by 300%. Much of the program’s success is attributed to staff-to-patient cost conversations that break down costs and present payment options.
2) Tailor Your Payment Experience to the Patient
If faced with an unexpected $500 medical bill, nearly half of Americans say they would struggle to pay it. According to Kaiser, in such situations, 20% will charge it to a credit card, 7% will borrow money and 19% will never pay. For those who are underinsured or of a lower income, their likelihood to not pay nearly doubles. Imagine you had better visibility into such outcomes up front. How much more efficient and effective would your patient payment experience be for both you and your patient?
Your patient payment model does not need to be one size fits most. Patient financial data can be leveraged to segment your patient universe by their propensity to pay, enabling you to offer individual patients the payment experience with the best possible outcome upfront. Whether it is offering traditional payment options or affordable financing or charity, you will collect funds faster and more efficiently while supporting patient satisfaction.
3) Make Payments More Enticing at the Point of Care
Industry-wide it is no secret that the more funds collected before or at the point of care, the higher your rate of collection. However, improving in-office payment collection requires more than a simple payment ask. With the rise in patient consumerism, many providers are adopting retail-like technology solutions and practices to ensure an easy, pain-free payment process. Four in five providers have already invested in software and staff to support upfront payment efforts.
Alternative payment options are a necessity. According to McKinsey, more than a third of insured respondents stated a lack of financing options as their reason for nonpayment. Furthermore, offering incentives in the form of discounts or financing interest promotions help drive urgency and likelihood to pay.
4) Don’t Fall Behind Digitally
If you are not evolving your digital payment experience, you may be falling behind the patient payment curve. Two in three patients are interested in mobile payment systems (i.e., Apple Pay, Samsung Pay or Android Pay) and multiple digital payment channel offerings. For the 20% of providers who do offer a mobile payment system, Instamed reports they are winning market share, as half of the consumers say they will change providers for the ability to pay using their preferred method.
In addition to meeting patient expectations, maintaining a modern digital experience also positively influences payment rates. Leveraging patient insights, Athena Health, a national network with 1,200 providers offices, developed and launched intuitive patient platform athenaCommunicator. Practices utilizing the platform experienced a 4.8% rise in patient pay yield – validating the belief that easy-to-use portal accounts drive quicker payments and payments made in full.
5) Thwart Forgetfulness with Thoughtful Payment Reminders
With nearly three in five Americans missing payment due dates, tardiness has become an epidemic.
Presently, the average medical practice must deploy more than three paper bills before any payment is received from the consumer. However, providers are in luck as experts believe additional payment avenues coupled with an increasingly digital payment experience will curb the trend against tardiness.
Providers prioritizing payment collection utilize a reminder strategy that combines multiple communication channels, ranging from more cost-effective digital channels such as email or text messages, too costly traditional methods such as snail mail and phone calls.
Health Credit Services offers lending solutions and financial insight, to help organizations drive efficiencies while transforming payments into a positive patient experience.
To learn more contact:
Business and Corporate Development