The Race is On: The Need For Modernized Billing and Payment Solutions

posted on Friday, September 6, 2019

A customer with a cart full of groceries proceeds through the checkout line, collects the bags and doesn’t pay the bill. A customer at a gas station fills up with $40 in gas and drives away without paying. A guest at a high-end salon gets a color and pedicure, but says they can’t pay the bill.

Absurd, right? A product was purchased. Payment is due. Period.

Now consider healthcare. A patient needs X-rays. A co-pay is collected. A bill is sent. 30 days pass. No payment. Another bill is sent. 60 days. Still no payment. 90 days, and so on and so on. Healthcare has traditionally been more lenient when it comes to collecting patient-owed balances.

The landscape is changing, and healthcare is beginning to adopt innovative technology and financial best practices.

The latest research from the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) and the 2018 Fiserv Household Finances shows:

  • Consumers demand 24/7 real time access to financial information.
  • Patients are shouldering 50+% of the balance due to high deductible plans.
  • The average high deductible coverage for a single plan is $4,300.
  • 38% of consumers have trouble paying back a $500 loan. (50% of millennials)
  • 75% of patients can’t afford an unexpected $1,000 medical bill.
  • 75% of consumers want online bill pay options. (90% millennials)
  • 78% of patients approve of having a credit card on file, yet only 20% of practices offer it.
  • Paper statement or e-statements -- if a fee were charged, 65% said they would change to e-statements. E-statements are seen as more environmentally friendly.
  • 50% of consumers want to pay via smartphone.
  • Consumers want digital reminders -- 98% of text messages are read.
  • Automated payment plans make it easier for practices to collect money.

Enter TECHNOLOGY. Technology is here to stay, and the financial best practices to support improved A/R are below.

Review Statements. Are they confusing? Is the balance clear and easy to understand? Is there a statement sequence including a past due and final notice? Sending the same statement over and over again is the definition of insanity.

Offer Online Bill Pay with Guest Pay. Patients want options and it’s easy for patients to quickly access their balance and pay their bill without the hassle of a username and password.

Enable Auto Pay. Patients can set up their account so charges below a certain amount will be automatically paid via a credit card, HSA or e-Check.

Automate Payment Plans. Allow patients to handle large, out of pocket expenses without the uncomfortable feeling of calling your practice. Set the rules and allow patients to setup a payment plan from the privacy of their home, or facilitate it discreetly at your practice.

Offer Text to Pay. It’s a digital world. The average person spends 6 hours a day on their phone.

Send Digital Text Reminders. Automated past due reminders help practices col­lect more money.

Understand what consumers want and get in their lane. Their satisfaction and your profitability counts on it.

  1. patient billing
  2. practice a/r
  3. technology