With the increase in high-deductible health plans, there is a greater demand for patients needing a simplified way to pay their out of pocket health care bills.
According to Healthcare Finance, there has been a 30 percent rise in patient costs. From a 2017 study, 89 percent of provider financial administrators expected that healthcare payments will be made on phones and mobile devices by the fourth quarter of 2018, yet only 20 percent are currently ready for electronic payments other than checks, cash or credit/debit cards.
A year old article from Becker’s Hospital Review newsletter still holds true today in that: “Patient portal options for billing are but one part of an overall engagement strategy that providers are turning to as patients seek the kinds of consumer retail experiences offered by Apple and Amazon.”
As stated in a 2019 article in Medical Economics: “The more convenience you can offer the patient, the more ease, the more info, the more likely they are to pay.”
From personal experience, as a consumer recently introduced to high deductibles, paying my hospital bills within my patient portal has made it a lot easier which has resulted in paying before I even receive the paper bill. This also puts all my history of payments all in one place which helps in verifying when I am close to reaching my maximum out of pocket expenses. Similar to messaging to my provider about Lab results, I have sent messages regarding my bill – all so I don’t have to make that dreaded phone call, where most likely I am put on hold for a while.
What's more, patient portals that also have the link to pay even if they haven’t registered offer further advantages. For these patients, you are even increasing the odds of having them sign up for the patient portal, and participating in more of their care.
Some key advantages to the consumer, and ultimately the hospital:
- Email notification when bills are dropped versus receiving a bill thru snail mail
- Bills get to the patient more quickly thereby increasing odds that patient pays faster
- Option for patient to stop receiving paper bills reduces costs (printer, stuffing envelopes, mailing, time, etc)
- Every time a patient logs on to a patient portal, a reminder is posted that the bill is due
History of Payments in One Place
As stated in Beckers Hospital Review: “Patient engagement is linked to conversion, and portals that are user friendly are more likely to convert a patient from paper billing and increase pay percentages, pure and simple.”
What are your thoughts on this topic? Does your portal offer bill pay? Is this something that would be worth it for your organization to implement?