Consumers: The new, critical stakeholder in healthcare payments

 Industry trends featured in the Trends in Healthcare Payments Sixth Annual Report: 2015 reveal that consumers have become a new, critical stakeholder in the healthcare industry – challenging the way many in the industry currently do business.

Healthcare providers must reevaluate how to maintain their cash flow as they can no longer rely on a group of payers for all or most of their revenue; instead, they must collect higher balances from consumers.  To maintain cash flow, providers can look to other industries that meet a high level of payment assurance through a more consumer-friendly payment experience. Read on to learn more about consumer healthcare payments trends and what they mean for the future of healthcare.

76 percent of consumers said that they were confused by their healthcare bills.

Rising consumer payment responsibility has changed how consumers approach visits to providers. Consumers are pushing back against the “mystery” of healthcare costs with questions about payments becoming more common in the provider-consumer relationship. The impacts of this change are real: about half of consumers will switch providers for the ability to understand cost upon scheduling and to easily understand and pay a bill using a preferred method. (Accenture 2014 Global Consumer Pulse Survey)

91 percent of consumers reported that it was important to know their payment responsibility prior to a provider visit.
Consumers want to know upfront how much they will owe and then understand how to make a payment.  This consumer demand goes beyond providers publishing pricing like a menu in their office or on their website.  The need is for consumers to understand an estimate of what they will actually pay based on their benefit information, which can include variables like their deductible, copayments and coinsurance.  By making it simple for consumers to understand what a service will cost, healthcare organizations can set payment expectations and then offer multiple payment options upfront – enabling a faster time to payment. 

75 percent of consumers opt to pay their household bills through online payment channels, including bank bill pay portals, websites and mobile apps.

A digital experience offers consumers the freedom of choice to manage payments whenever it is convenient for them. Leading consumer companies who have reimagined consumer experiences like securing transportation or streamlining household shopping are shining examples of how to use online channels to disrupt traditional consumer experiences, including how consumers manage their payments. Digital wallets within online patient portals allow consumers to easily manage payment information at their convenience as they already do in other industries.

Digital wallets increase the adoption of automated payment channels by allowing consumers to save payment information on file when a one-time payment is made. In addition, consumers have greater control of their automated payments in digital wallets as they are able to set maximum payment amounts and update payment information as needed.

Learn more about the healthcare payments trends impacting the industry by downloading the Trends in Healthcare Payments Sixth Annual Report: 2015


About the author:  Before joining InstaMed, Jeff was an executive at Accenture, where he led multiple enterprise projects for multiple Fortune 100 companies. Jeff’s experience and expertise include a deep focus in the areas of product management, product strategy, product marketing and developing strategic partnerships.


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