In the healthcare industry, which changes as rapidly as the latest iPhone model, it’s easy for practices to make assumptions that don’t mesh with reality. Patient preferences about their healthcare payments are one of those areas of confusion.
Many practice owners and healthcare professionals tend to believe that patients prefer more traditional payment methods where healthcare is involved. While that might be true of some patients, various surveys and statistics regarding consumer behaviors support the conclusion that patients are more interested in mobile and technology-supported options for healthcare payments than previously believed.
Below are some common myths held by healthcare professionals regarding payment methods—and the facts that disprove them. The data listed below can be explored more fully in InstaMed’s Trends in Healthcare Payments Seventh Annual Report 2016.
Myth: Patients aren’t ready for eStatements.
- 71 percent of consumers pay household bills through online methods.
- 60 percent of consumers want to receive eStatements.
- A quarter of the surveyed population would switch to a provider offering online healthcare payments and eStatements.
- 4 out of 5 consumers want to pay premiums online.
Myth: Only the younger generations prefer online payments.
- 61 percent of millennials, 60 percent of Gen Xers, 52 percent of Baby Boomers, and 42 percent of seniors pay bills online. The younger the generation, the more likely to be interested in eStatements, but the stats show that a large percentage of each generation enjoy the ease of online bill pay.
- 88 percent of consumers under 40 pay bills online; 72 percent over 40 do the same.
- 61 percent of consumers expressed an interest in mobile payment.
Myth: Payments and payment discussions can’t (shouldn’t?) happen up front.
- 92 percent of patients indicated they preferred to know and understand their monetary responsibilities prior to visiting a provider.
- 73 percent of providers have a hard time collecting payments from consumers; every opportunity to collect and prepare consumers for healthcare payments ahead of time should be taken—especially considering that out-of-pocket healthcare costs are growing roughly 16 percent per year (since 2013).
Myth: Patients won’t use digital wallets for healthcare payments.
- In the latest report, cards being placed in digital wallets for healthcare payments increased by 217% since 2013 (averaging a 47 percent increase per year).
- Automated payment plans increased by 272% since 2013, growing by 55 percent per year.
All too often, practice priorities are skewed by assumptions and misinformed conclusions. By embracing the facts and a progressive mentality, practices could improve internal efficiency and patient satisfaction by updating technology and improving access to healthcare payments.
One fact trumps all others when it comes to payment systems: consumers prefer convenience. While older generations do still have some reservations, online healthcare payments are the future—no matter how you slice it.
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For practices looking to update systems and cater to more modern payment mentalities, an effective online payment system is essential. The patients expect it, ultimately—and they will make good use of it when they need it most.
To see InstaMed’s full infographic on healthcare payment myths – visit https://www.instamed.com/blog/infographic-healthcare-payments-myths/