J.P. Morgan’s highly anticipated annual ‘Trends in Healthcare Payments’ report is especially relevant this year, in what is considered to be one of the worst financial years1 on record for U.S. hospitals. In the current environment, financial leaders’ understanding of payment trends and the landscape is more crucial than ever, in order to consider technology and process improvements that may drive operational efficiencies.
This deep dive into 2023’s trends covers digitalization, billing, fraud, work environments, reconciliation and contactless payments, among others. Here, we look to just a few of these trends that could impact the industry this year and beyond.
When billing teams are mailing two or three statements per patient before they collect any payment, print and mail costs can start to add up quickly… not to mention the environmental impact of this additional paper. Giving consumers the opportunity to switch to digital is not enough: 89% of consumers2 have the option to enroll in eStatements from their providers. However, only 4% of those consumers3 have opted for the eStatement option, which indicates there is a challenge with eStatement adoption in the industry.
Switching to eStatements is a process improvement that also benefits customers:: 42% of consumers4 would switch providers based on their payments experience.
We have to consider the full continuum of setting expectations, delivering communications digitally, and paying digitally. Offering all that in a convenient way creates a huge benefit, not only for the patient but also to help those in the back office hindered by staffing shortages right now.
Jeff Lin of J.P. Morgan refers to the “healthcare financial literacy” of the consumer, citing the lack of understanding regarding billing – 71% of consumers5 are confused by the bills that they get. Payment plans that simplify billing and mitigate financial hardship work for consumers – while also giving providers assurance and visibility of payments – will increase this year, according to the report. A good case in point is Catholic Health, who trained their financial clearance teams to offer payments plans to patients pre-service. This change led to a 102% increase6 in installment payments made toward an outstanding balance and a 50% increase in the number of payment plans created.
Simplified digital experiences are no longer a nice-to-have— they’re a must-have. Today’s healthcare consumers want the same convenient, contactless payment experiences that other industries have already offered for years. Options like Apple Pay, Google Pay and contactless EMV (Europay, Mastercard and Visa) are growing in popularity, and healthcare organizations should be able to accept these options at the point-of-service, as well as online channels.
Attempted payment fraud attacks are an issue for many industries, but the very nature of healthcare organizations and claim payments mean they can be a valuable target for fraudsters and bad actors. It is more important than ever for payers to prioritize a rigorous underwriting process, and ongoing monitoring for any bank accounts receiving funds.
The Trends in Healthcare Payments Thirteenth Annual Report highlights quantitative data derived from the InstaMed platform and features qualitative, proprietary, independently gathered survey data from consumers, providers and payers nationwide.
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The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of J.P. Morgan, its affiliates, or its employees. The information set forth herein has been obtained or derived from sources believed to be reliable. Neither the author nor J.P. Morgan makes any representations or warranties as to the information’s accuracy or completeness. The information contained herein has been provided solely for informational purposes and does not constitute an offer, solicitation, advice or recommendation, to make any investment decisions or purchase any financial instruments, and may not be construed as such.
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