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What You Need to Know: 2021 Patient Financial Responsibility Trends

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We are facing an interesting year for patient financial responsibility in 2021. Healthcare is still grappling with coronavirus, but several promising vaccines that are currently being administered bring hope, and hopefully relief, for providers and their patients.

Patients have struggled to pay healthcare costs for years, but the pandemic brought it to a whole other level with patients avoiding care due to the severity of the virus and limited finances. If 2021 trends fall into place, it will put patients in a better place with managing their financial responsibility for medical bills.

Price Transparency is Prevalent

Price transparency continues to gain momentum after hospitals lost an attempt to stave it off last year. But, the efforts aren’t without hurdles. Many hospitals are taking all kinds of approaches to sharing their payer negotiated rates, which is leading to confusion for some healthcare consumers. Others are still missing the mark on the new price transparency rules altogether.

While progress has been made, it will still take time for these rules to impact healthcare consumers and how they’re able to manage patient payments. But if patients feel rest assured that they can live up to their financial responsibility for medical bills, they will be more likely to pursue necessary and elective medical procedures that will increase your patient payments and especially their health outcomes.

Surprise Medical Bills are Going Away

The days of surprise medical bills are coming to an end. Legislation passed at the end of 2020, which will go into effect in 2022, will stem the practice of surprise medical bills patients receive for emergency visits, in-network visits that use some out-of-network providers and more. This is a win for healthcare consumers, who often don’t have a say in who they get their care from, even in-network, or how much the services will cost prior to treatment.

Patients will have more choices when it comes to their healthcare options and it will allow them to better afford their healthcare costs in the long run.

COVID-19 Treatment Costs Worry Patients

A recent survey found that 39 percent of patients worry about being able to make patient financial responsibility payments tied to COVID-19 treatment. Unsurprisingly, 35 percent would put off treatment to avoid those high bills.

The good news is several vaccines are reaching healthcare consumers this year that will control the spread of coronavirus, and hopefully, end the pandemic. But until then, these are still strong fears that patients have, especially when there are some who suffer from long-term effects of coronavirus.

Digital Solutions

Healthcare consumers are used to digital communications, such as text messaging and email advertising, in most aspects of their lives. However, medical billing has until recently relied on traditional paper statements and payments taken in person, over the phone or through the mail.

Many patients would prefer to pay their medical bills online and appreciate payment reminders sent through digital channels. PatientBond uses a proprietary psychographic segmentation model that enables communications to resonate with healthcare consumers’ motivations and priorities, influencing patients to pay their balances due. Healthcare providers leveraging the PatientBond patient engagement platform have seen remarkable results:

  • 4X increase in patient payments made within the first 10 days of billing
  • 25X increase in payments made in the first 48 hours
  • Up to 25 percent increase in balances paid that were past due 120+ days
  • 50 percent reduction in paper statements and postage

Amazing things can happen when healthcare emulates other aspects of patients’ lives.

Healthcare consumers have a lot of hopeful changes to look forward to with current patient financial responsibility trends. While they may be tricky for providers to navigate, they will help them, in the long run, generate more patient payments and lead to better health outcomes for their patients.

For more insights on patient financial responsibility payments, take a look at our tip sheet.

How to Increase Patient Financial Responsibility Payments

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