Consumers Expect Long-Term Patient Financing to Help Afford Care

Posted on: December 11, 2018

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Patients Share and Compare Financial Experience Stories

SAN DIEGO, Dec. 11, 2018 – Just as consumers shop for the right care experience, now they think about the financial experience, too. According to the ClearBalance® 2018 Healthcare Consumerism study, 79 percent of respondents will ask their provider about payment options. What’s more, 94 percent expect their provider to tell them about ways they can repay their medical bill, including using long-term financing.

“Healthcare consumer loyalty is influenced by how early and how often you communicate with patients about their estimated cost of care and their payment options,” says ClearBalance President and CEO Bruce Haupt. “Consumers remember how they’re treated while they’re repaying their medical bill and will compare their experiences with friends.”

For four consecutive years ClearBalance, in conjunction with healthcare research firm Porter Research, has surveyed patients about their perceptions related to healthcare costs and how they repay their medical bills. As in past years, an overwhelming majority – 89 percent – of respondents say they need more than 12 months to repay their healthcare costs.

It’s not surprising that consumers find healthcare costs to be high. Numerous other studies confirm that Americans are ill-equipped to pay for healthcare. In fact, only 29 percent have emergency savings to cover six months’ worth of medical expenses, according to Bankrate.com. Sixty percent of respondents in the Healthcare Consumerism study save less than $1,000 for medical care. A lack of financing options can affect a person’s behavior about seeking medical treatment; 36 percent of those surveyed will delay care if the ClearBalance patient financing program isn’t an option.

The silver lining, despite the perception that healthcare is expensive, is most consumers want to pay for their cost of care and they aren’t surprised about having the financial conversation.

“Several years ago, we anticipated that revenue cycle management would evolve to a consumer-centric approach,” says April York, Sr. Director of Revenue Administration for Novant Health. “We’ve been ahead of others in our market, collaborating with patients on payment options that are reasonable while significantly reducing bad debt. The strategy benefits patients, creates loyalty and supports our financial performance goals year-after-year.”

In addition to consumer perceptions, the Healthcare Consumerism study also measures awareness, use of, satisfaction and loyalty with the ClearBalance consumer-friendly patient financing program. The fourth annual Healthcare Consumerism study was completed by more than 4,000 participants. Study findings are based on a 99 percent confidence level, plus/minus 2 percent.
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About ClearBalance
ClearBalance has been at the forefront of patient pay management since 1992, setting and delivering a high bar for patient financing solutions, patient reimbursement, revenue cycle IT expertise and the consumer experience. The ClearBalance program features the only HFMA Peer Reviewed ROI Value Model™, which identifies a providers’ cost to collect patient pay and sets nationally recognized benchmarks for a long-term financing alternative.   ClearBalance.org