The needs of patients are quickly evolving. Services that were acceptable even 10 years ago are now considered subpar by customers who have adapted to “Amazon-like” experiences in all corners of business, everything from retail to banking to the healthcare industry. A recent study showed the No. 1 priority of patients is to receive personalized care from healthcare providers. Patients want to be “heard, understood and given clear direction through a personalized healthcare experience.”
A large part of that experience is having flexible payment options. Patients feel the pressure of rising healthcare costs and need options to manage those costs. During 2017, the average annual healthcare cost was $10,739 per person versus just $146 per person in 1960.
Affordable, transparent and customized payment options are attractive to patients looking to simplify their financial management of care. Understanding the benefits of innovative payment solutions helps chart the best path forward while improving your bottom line.
Simplified Patient Financing Streamlines The Experience
A staggering number of patients have trouble paying for healthcare costs. About one-fourth of U.S. adults (26%) report they or a household member has experienced difficulty paying for healthcare in the past year. What’s more, about half of the public, regardless of socioeconomic status or health condition, reported they are “very worried” or “somewhat worried” about being able to afford unexpected medical bills or health insurance deductibles.
Flexible payment options allow practices to offer customized solutions to help patients pay for care. Some programs offer 100% patient approval rates, which gives you the ability to offer payment plans to all patients, regardless of their credit score or credit history. As a result, you can increase cash flow and predictability of receivables.
Provide Greater Ease With Mobile Payments
Patients have access to more billing and payment options than ever before. Mobile payments have seen rapid growth and popularity in recent years, and many patients want this type of payment option from their doctor. In fact, the mobile payment market size was valued at $601 billion in 2016, and this volume is expected to reach $4,574 billion by 2023.
Patients gravitate to mobile payments due to the ease and convenience they provide in paying for financial services. For example, a patient might visit the doctor and owe a balance on the account. The patient quickly gets a text message that allows him or her to either pay instantly from the phone or set up a customized healthcare payment plan. The patient can self-select the option that best meets his or her unique situation and quickly manage that transaction.
Safe and Secure Automated Payments
Americans are living busy lives and experiencing more stress as compared to others around the globe. About 55% of U.S. adults report they experience stress during “a lot of the day” compared with only 35% globally. The goal of medical practices is to keep people healthy, and anything that a practice can do to improve the experience and minimize stress is helpful.
Automated patient payment options help patients simplify. Americans already pay online, and people want the ease of paying bills, everything from their utility bill to their doctor’s copayment, faster.
Flexible payment options allow you to safely store and use patient payment account details for balances owed after insurance adjudication. For example, ClearGage enables payments to be tokenized and stored in an encrypted payment vault that is PCI, HIPAA and EMV certified. This type of autopay feature allows patients to simplify paying bills and reduce the time spent on managing financial transactions.
Innovative technology also allows recurring payments and subscriptions, with the option to pay weekly, biweekly, semi-monthly and more. This provides the flexibility to provide billing technology and payment options that fit your patient financial policies and needs.
Moving Into The Future With Greater Success
Today’s patients want excellent healthcare, but they also want convenience and affordability. Digital technologies play an important role in what people expect from their healthcare practices and help in increasing patient satisfaction. In one survey, more than half of patients said they expect digital capabilities.
Streamlined technologies that include flexible payments allow practices to get ahead of these fast-evolving expectations. Patients worry about how to pay for care, but with flexible payment options, you can transform and reduce this worry. People are empowered to select a payment plan they can afford, and at the same time, your practice benefits from steady cash flow. Understanding how patient expectations are changing and matching those needs to the right technology is a critical step in ensuring that your practice thrives in the future.