2018 is poised to be another interesting year for the healthcare revenue cycle. With ACA premiums set to grow sharply (up to 32 percent more for some plans), as well as overall employer-sponsored insurance costs, one thing is certain: patient payments will continue to make up an increasing portion of practice revenue.
Fortunately, there are several opportunities for practices to not only collect patient payments in a timely manner in the coming year, but increase patient satisfaction at the same time. Here are a few:
1. Offer more digital payment and e-billing options.
Patients today want the same level of convenience they experience in industries that have offered digital payment options for years. Yet many patients still find it difficult to understand and pay their healthcare bills, according to a recent set of surveys.
The first survey, the 2017 Digital Payment Progress Report conducted by Navicure and MGMA, asked about MGMA members' billing preferences and behaviors. The second survey, the Patient Payment Check-Up conducted by HIMSS Analytics, evaluates differences in attitudes and behaviors between patients and providers.
The Patient Payment Check-Up reveals that 48 percent of patients find providers' bill paying options inconvenient. However, survey respondents were also clear on what they do like: 52 percent of patients prefer electronic billing and are overwhelmingly receptive to sharing their email address (79 percent) and cell phone numbers (72 percent) to facilitate digital payment processes.
The Patient Payment Check-Up survey also indicates that 78 percent of patients would be willing to provide their credit card on file (CCOF) to be charged one time up to $200.
That said, the Digital Payment Progress Report shows that practices are showing some adoption, but have room for improvement when it comes to digital payment options. Currently, only 28 percent of MGMA members surveyed are keeping CCOF and 27 percent offer online bill pay. Providers without these capabilities and processes have the opportunity to adopt technology to help support these features to help close the convenience gap.