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Healthcare Payments for the Modern Patient

As part two of our blog series on InstaMed’s whitepaper, “Trends in Healthcare Payments”, we decided to unpack the modern consumer’s attitude toward financial responsibility for medical services.

According to the whitepaper, consumers (patients) are rapidly changing their approach to healthcare payments. Whereas in the past, many took a “wait and see” approach, consumers are now planning ahead and seek total cost transparency before they receive a therapy, procedure, or check-up.

The needs of the modern consumer

This idea of transparency extends beyond the billing and payment process, however. Other factors must be considered, such as how much certain services cost, what their payment options are, and other pertinent questions. Before making a decision, consumers need an estimate of what they will actually pay based on their benefit information–which can include variables like deductibles, copayments and coinsurance.

In other words, the era of “mystery” healthcare payments is swiftly coming to a conclusion.

To further reinforce this point, here are insights from the whitepaper that we found particularly illuminating:

  • Upfront Payment Responsibility is Important: 91% of consumers say that is important to know payment responsibility prior to a provider visit.
  • Healthcare Bills Confuse Consumers: 77% of consumers report that they are confused by explanation of benefits (EOBs), while 76% are confused by bills from their providers.
  • Online Payment Channels are the Future: 75% of consumers opt to pay their household bills through online payment channels, including bank bill pay portals, websites and mobile apps.
  • Consumers are App-sessed: 64% of consumers report an interest in using a new mobile payment system such as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay or Android Pay to make a healthcare payment.

As the above points demonstrate, the rapid digitization of everyday tasks is a trend that is quickly being adopted for healthcare payments. It makes sense– if you can digitally track pertinent factors then there will always be a clear understanding of what is owed, how much is owed, and any other factors needed for financial responsibility.

The whitepaper further mentions how patients are often confused when multiple healthcare forms conflict on their payment responsibility, and these new payment methods represent an opportunity to remedy these issues. Further, being able to pay with apps– such as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, etc., should help paint a clear digital trail that the modern consumer desires when conducting transactions.

In total, consumers are sending a clear message to providers, saying, “We want a more transparent, convenient healthcare payments experience.” In 2017, the healthcare industry will increasingly recognize this need– and those savvy enough to cater their processes to the patient can only benefit.

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