How to Create a More Patient-Centric Healthcare Payment Experience
Learn how healthcare providers can improve patient satisfaction while streamlining the bill collection process.
The use of high deductible health plans (HDHPs) has increased exponentially in the past decade. Currently, 82 percent of covered workers have a plan deductible, compared to 63 percent a decade ago. The deductible itself has risen too—the average doubled from $826 to $1,655 in that same time period.1
With this increase in out-of-pocket spending, patients are demanding more from their healthcare payment experience. Often, this means looking at healthcare like consumers and considering convenience, comfort, availability and flexibility when making healthcare decisions.
In response, healthcare providers must focus on delivering better payment experiences that engage patients and grow their trust.
Provide Cost Transparency and Payment Options
Patients need personalized data to make decisions. To build financial trust, providers should offer patients:
- Access to real-time cost information: Whether consumers are spending money on car repairs, clothing alterations or phone plans, they want to know prices upfront. Healthcare is no different. According to InstaMed's 2019 Trends in Healthcare Payments Report, 89 percent of patients want to know their payment responsibility upfront, and 85 percent want an online estimation tool to consider costs before a medical visit.
- Cost transparency during emergencies: Swift, accurate cost transparency becomes particularly important in emergency situations, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic, when patients may need to make decisions about providers and treatments in an instant.
- Continual education on payment options: These may include payment plans, online or mobile payments, and prequalifying assistance for Medicaid or charity programs. The more payment options available, the more likely patients are to pay. Alert patients to these services early on—during preservice or checkout time—to reap the maximum benefit.
Invest in Technology
Providers should integrate payment accounting systems, gateways, lockbox, insurance reimbursements and other payment information. This simplifies the bill collection process by giving providers a single point of entry for data while offering patients one location where they can see all of their healthcare information.
InstaMed’s 2019 Trends in Healthcare Payments Report found that most patients want electronic options for their healthcare payments. Rather than only accept check payments, providers should invest in mobile, POS system and web-based payments.
Use Data to Engage Patients
Data tools enable providers to better engage patients and understand their behavior, motivations and expectations. For example, data can reveal:
- When and where payments are made
- Payment type (cash, check or card) used
- Payment vehicle (mobile, terminal or kiosk) used
- Likelihood-to-pay trends
Coupled with benchmarking metrics, providers can use data to see how they compare with peers and competitors. Equipped with this information, providers can offer personalized communications, payment incentives and payment options at the right time, in the right place and in the right medium.
Click here to download InstaMed's 2019 Trends in Healthcare Payments Report.
1 Kaiser Family Foundation, 2019 benchmark KFF Employer Health Benefits Survey, September 2019