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News | August 17, 2015

Patient Loan Program Drives Loyalty for Healthcare Facilities

SAN DIEGO, Aug. 17, 2015 – As more health systems consider consumer strategies to gain patient loyalty, an extremely successful tactic is to make care affordable. According to a new healthcare consumerism research project, 94 percent of patients said they would return to a healthcare facility that offers a loan program. And 93 percent said they would recommend that healthcare provider to friends and family.

The ClearBalance® Healthcare Consumerism survey measures patients’ awareness, use of, satisfaction and loyalty with the ClearBalance consumer-friendly loan program. It also measures the same metrics toward health systems that offer the ClearBalance program. The bi-annual survey was designed by the Lavin Entrepreneurship Center at San Diego State University (SDSU) and administered by healthcare research firm Porter Research. Survey respondents also were asked their perceptions about healthcare costs and priorities.
According to the survey, cost is a barrier to individuals seeking care. The survey shows that one in four respondents would delay medical care if they weren’t able to use a loan program to help cover their costs. This finding aligns with a December 2014 Gallup poll showing that one in three Americans put off getting medical treatment that they or their family members needed because of cost.

“Consumers expect to receive high-quality of care so the real differentiator among health systems today is how they work with patients to make it easy to afford that care,” says Mitch Patridge, ClearBalance CEO.

Other survey findings indicate patients’ perceptions are also influenced by a healthcare organization’s contribution to the community. All patients surveyed believe that health systems provide a valuable benefit to their community by offering a patient loan program.

“Two things are clear,” says survey author Bernard Schroeder, director of SDSU’s Lavin Entrepreneurship Center and an expert in customer satisfaction. “There is a high degree of satisfaction with and loyalty for the ClearBalance patient loan program and for the healthcare organizations that offer this program to their patients.”

“The ClearBalance zero-interest consumer-friendly loan program encourages loyalty to the care provider, in turn increasing census,” Patridge says. “Health systems that partner with ClearBalance also experience immediate financial benefits: increases in cash and net collections and expense reduction. It’s a win-win for health systems and the patients they serve”

Other findings from the ClearBalance Healthcare Consumerism survey include:
• 97% of patients said it is very important that their healthcare provider offer a zero-interest loan program to help them pay for their care.
• 96% of patients said it is very likely they would use a zero-interest loan to help pay for care.
• Respondents rated paying a healthcare bill fifth out of seven types of bills, representing less of a priority than paying mortgage/rent, insurance, car loan, phone/utilities, and credit card.

Survey methodology
The ClearBalance Healthcare Consumerism survey was designed and analyzed by the Lavin Entrepreneurship Center at San Diego State University. The Lavin Center ranks 18th on Forbes’ list of Most Entrepreneurial Universities. Before joining the Lavin Center, Bernard Shroeder worked for more than 20 years with name brand companies including Apple, Nike, General Motors and Amazon.

Porter Research administered the survey electronically. Porter Research has specialized in providing market intelligence for multiple Fortune 500 healthcare companies for nearly 25 years.
Survey respondents comprised a national pool of individuals who have used a ClearBalance loan to pay their healthcare bill sometime in the last nine years. More than half of survey respondents have a college degree. Nearly three-quarters of respondents are married and have a family and/or dependents. The survey generated a statistically significant response for a 96 percent (+/- 4 percent) confidence rate.

About ClearBalance
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 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.

Peer Review designation
HFMA staff and volunteers determined that these healthcare business solutions have met specific criteria developed under the HFMA Peer Review process. HFMA does not endorse or guarantee the use of these healthcare business solutions or that any results will be obtained.

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