Healthcare consumerism has been rapidly evolving for years. Perhaps the most notable change is the rapid shift in financial responsibility, which has shifted from payers (insurance companies) to the patients themselves. Today in the United States, the percentage of privately insured people under the age of 65 with a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) has increased by 54% since 2010.1 This means that more patients are expected to pay for more care out-of-pocket than at any other point in history. In fact, according to recent NHE data, out of pocket spending grew 4.6% to $406.5 billion in 2019.2
Rising patient payment responsibility
What makes this shift so challenging to both patients and providers is that healthcare costs are variable. To make matters worse, patients are unclear about basic healthcare financial terminology making it difficult for them to prepare for and cover their growing portion of the healthcare payment responsibility.
Despite rising costs and confusion, the methods that most healthcare providers rely on to communicate and collect payments have largely remained unchanged. According to a recent study, 87% of healthcare providers still leverage paper and manual processes for collections.3
According to the Commonwealth, Annual per capita health expenditures in the United States are the highest in the world (USD $11,172, on average, in 2018), with health care costs growing between 4.2 percent and 5.8 percent annually over the past five years.4
How ISVs help providers reverse the cycle of declining revenue
As you can imagine, high costs, unclear responsibilities, and antiquated processes are causing an increasing number of patients to delay or default on their payments – leading to a decrease in net collections for most healthcare practices. Recent industry studies report that 91% of consumers were surprised by a medical bill in 2019 and 78% of providers are unable to collect a $1,000+ patient balance in 30 days.3
For medical practices to truly thrive, patient collections can no longer be an afterthought in the billing process. The good news is that ISVs can help reverse the cycle of declining revenue by offering providers a platform that promotes a more convenient and consistent end-to-end collections experience. To help ISVs see where they fit in, let’s take a look at what the journey of a comprehensive collection could be like when it is fully optimized from the first patient interaction to the last.
Before the visit:
Communication is key to creating superior patient and collection experiences. To help providers improve both, ISVs should seek out credit card processors that can help them securely collect cardholder information via card-on-file technologies in a variety of ways. Offering patients multiple opportunities to share their credit card information over the phone, online in your software, or via text message is a great way to build a seamless patient experience as it builds trust and reduces time spent in the waiting room. Most importantly, it also reduces the likelihood of missed payments.
During the visit:
Now that a primary credit card is stored on file, healthcare practices can focus on reviewing all past statements or outstanding balances with the patients. Using this time to check balances helps to eliminate charges that may have gone unnoticed or uncollected, and affords practices the opportunity to develop payment plans that work for their patients. Additionally, offering a countertop terminal or contactless options like text-based payments can help patients seamlessly pay for additional retail items like therapy bands, contacts, or prescription glasses in-person. Enhanced pricing programs, like Clearent’s Empower program, can help healthcare providers offset or eliminate their credit card processing fees by sharing the costs with patients through cash discounts, surcharges, or convenience fee programs.
After the visit:
ISVs can help providers leverage text, email, and phone-based payment methods to collect any outstanding balances after treatments are completed. Optimized communication combined with multiple payment options ensures that providers can collect more payments, faster; ultimately reducing their accounts receivable and improving cash flows
Bringing it all together
Even though healthcare costs are on the rise, consistent communication, new policies and powerful payment technologies can help healthcare providers reverse the cycle of declining revenue and develop a superior patient collections experience. ISVs have an incredible opportunity to help providers on this journey by integrating these technologies into their software for a truly seamless experience.
Want to learn more about Clearent’s ISV Partner Program? Visit our ISV webpage today.