How to Improve the Patient Experience with Healthcare Financing
Author: Blake Sorrell, Director, Healthcare Banking
Americans may have access to one of the most advanced medical systems in the world, but quality care doesn’t come without a cost. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, total health care spending averaged $12,530 a person in 2020.
With over half of Americans now enrolled in a high deductible healthcare plan (HDHP), more patients are paying for those costs out of pocket. Recent research indicates a $2,349 average deductible for single coverage HDHP plan. For 20% of covered workers, deductibles reach $6,000 or more.
The rising cost of care, combined with the growing patient responsibility, is ushering in the age of consumerism in healthcare, as individuals seek to better control their wellbeing and the associated costs.
Healthcare Consumerism Is About Taking Control
Healthcare consumerism is described as a movement where patients take more control of their own healthcare and health decisions. For many individuals, this includes finding their own physicians and specialists instead of relying on doctor recommendations.
The annual Press Ganey PatientsLikeMe survey revealed that over half of consumers are finding physicians online, and 59% are relying on patient reviews to make their choices.
As consumers take a more active role in the decisions regarding their care, they also are seeking better healthcare pricing. Nearly 17 million Americans used GoodRx in 2020, to find coupons reducing prescription drugs costs. A third of consumers shop around for the best price on healthcare related services.
However, many Americans are taking a less positive approach to controlling their out-of-pocket expenses. One in four adults responding to a recent survey is skipping out on healthcare and necessary medications to reduce financial burdens.
As inflation continues to tighten purse strings, healthcare providers are seeking new ways to ensure patients receive the care they need, while protecting their own ability to remain in operation.
Simplifying Healthcare Payments for Patients and Providers
It’s a sobering fact that many providers never receive payment for the cost of the care they deliver. For others, the value of the payment received can be lost when extensive time and resources are required for collection.
Based on data analysis collected from 1,600 hospitals and over 100,000 physicians nationwide, benchmarking analytics firm Crowe found that once a patient’s payment responsibility reaches $7,500, the likelihood of providers receiving payment drops dramatically. As a result, self-pay patients account for 58% of all provider bad debt.
This is where healthcare financing can make it possible for Americans to receive the care they need and for physicians and facilities to receive payment. While many providers offer patients the option to pay over time on outstanding balances, patient financing allows for timely collection on services, while still making it possible for patients to break costs into more manageable payments.
Patients apply and receive terms within seconds, providing assurance that they can afford the cost of necessary care. Providers benefit as well, with three main advantages:
Accelerated speed to cash: According to The Medical Group Management Association’s most recent MGMA Stat poll, the majority of medical providers watched average days of AR increase throughout 2021. Waiting for payment can strain provider finances, but allowing patients to make regular payments increases the likelihood of receiving funds on time. Financing also makes it possible for providers to better manage cash, by providing a reliable schedule of anticipated payments.
Lower the burden of collections: By the time a provider expends the money and resources to collect on some claims, there isn’t much left to cover the cost of service. Patient financing helps to ensure that providers receive the total cost of service not covered by insurance, without straining patient budgets.
Boost patient trust: Ninety percent of patients say their loyalty to a physician or facility is dependent upon the financial experience they receive. Payment plans demonstrate compassion for patient circumstances and a willingness to work with individual budgets, helping patients to establish greater trust with their provider.
Overall, healthcare financing helps patients to better afford care and for providers to control cash flows and operational expenses, through the receipt of timely payments.
FNBO’s patient finance program is designed to flow seamlessly with facilities’ patient experience and payment solutions. To learn more about our patient finance program, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FNBO Healthcare Banking offers a full suite of revenue cycle and accounts payable solutions that allow our customers to focus their time and resources on what matters most – providing the best possible healthcare services throughout our communities. We offer financing for working capital, new construction, renovations, equipment acquisitions, medical lockbox, accounts payable solutions and patient financing.
About the Author
Blake is a Director of Healthcare Banking, working with hospitals to contain costs, improve controls and accelerate revenue cycles. He believes that stronger financial management can mitigate many concerns around profitability, allowing administrators to focus more on patient outcomes. Blake is proud to be a part of the FNBO community—one that meets the definition of a “great big small bank”—and strives for the personal touch in all of his banking relationships.
The articles in this blog are for informational purposes only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations. When making decisions about your financial situation, consult a financial professional for advice. Articles are not regularly updated, and information may become outdated.