Patient Cost of Care is Top of Mind
SAN DIEGO – Healthcare organizations that offer and promote long-term financing to help patients pay their cost of care stand a better chance of increasing market share and preventing network leakage. According to the third annual Healthcare Consumerism study sponsored by ClearBalance®, 90 percent of patients/consumers surveyed likely will return to a healthcare provider that offers the loan program and 88 percent will recommend that provider to friends and family. Loyalty strategies that capture consumers as repeat users could make a significant difference in profitability.
“During the last few years many health systems experienced an increase in volume as we worked through the wave of newly insured created by the Affordable Care Act,” says ClearBalance president and CEO Bruce Haupt. “But volumes are plateauing and potentially even decreasing. It’s imperative that health systems attract and keep patients by understanding that, in addition to quality care, cost of care is becoming a much bigger motivator in choosing one system over another.”
While healthcare reform continues to play out in Washington, it’s no surprise that the patient’s cost of care is top of mind for many consumers – even for people with health insurance. According to the Healthcare Consumerism study, 92 percent of respondents think healthcare is a big-ticket expense that requires long-term financing. Study respondents consider their cost of care to be a key variable when selecting a physician (81 percent) and a healthcare organization (84 percent). They are also more apt to ask about their cost of care (73 percent).
“Consumers expect quite a bit from hospitals for their clinical and financial needs,” says Marilyn Koczan, Senior Vice President of Revenue Cycle Operations at Hackensack Meridian Health. “You can really spoil a great clinical experience when you present the patient with a large bill. At least the younger generations today understand they have a financial obligation and want to pay their bills. Being able to offer the ClearBalance program creates a very positive experience for the patient.”
The Healthcare Consumerism study measures awareness, use of, satisfaction and loyalty with the ClearBalance consumer-friendly loan program. It also quantifies patients’ perceptions of healthcare providers that offer affordable financing for medical care. Now in its third year, the Healthcare Consumerism study was completed by more than 4,000 participants in August. The study was administered by Porter Research, a healthcare market research firm. Findings included in this study are based on a 99 percent confidence level, plus/minus 2 percent. Key findings include:
• Study respondents are loyal and strong promoters of the ClearBalance program and the healthcare organizations that offer the long-term payment option
• Most respondents (74 percent) have health insurance provided through their employer
• The patient’s cost of care is an important variable when consumers make decisions about healthcare:
o 73 percent of survey respondents say they ask their healthcare provider what they will owe
o 92 percent say healthcare is an expense that requires financing of more than 12 months
o 32 percent – one-third – will delay care if a loan program isn’t available
o 47 percent prefer to communicate with a healthcare provider via telephone when discussing their cost of care
Read the Executive Brief
ClearBalance partners with health systems to provide consumer-centric affordable care while improving net recovery of patient pay and overall financial performance. We have served more than 4.5 million patient accounts and maintain the industry’s highest patient loan repayment rate. Our program enables patients to easily pay their medical costs and engenders loyalty, positioning the health system as the care location of choice in its community. The ClearBalance ROI Value Model™, Peer Reviewed by HFMA, establishes nationally recognized patient loan program performance standards to benefit health systems and their patients. www.ClearBalance.org.