For hospital patients with out-of-pocket expenses to pay, 44.4 percent opt for payment plans, and some clearly struggle to pay their medical bills, according to a recent survey conducted by Flywire and PYMNTS.com.
“The Changing Landscape of Healthcare Payment Plans,” gathered from 2,837 respondents who had either checked into a hospital or visited an emergency room during the past year, examines existing perceptions around patient payment behavior. The survey looked at how, when, and why patients paid their medical bills, as well as what kept them from doing so.
“The study offers important insights for hospitals and health systems seeking to optimize their revenue cycle practices and payment plan strategy, as well as to improve payment behavior without jeopardizing the relationship between patient and provider,” says John Talaga, executive vice president, Flywire.
According to the survey, the vast majority of patients want to pay off their outstanding balances, but are unable to do so all at once. As a result, hospitals and medical facilities are using propensity-to-pay analytics to proactively offer payment plans to help patients resolve their medical bills.
Payment plans can also reduce how often hospitals have to act as debt collectors—a role many are reluctant to embrace, based on PYMNTS’ findings. Slightly more than one-fifth (22.8 percent) of respondents who currently use payment plans said hospitals made no effort to collect any out-of-pocket expenses at the time of their treatments, while slightly more than half said facilities only attempted to collect the co-pay. Strategic use of payment plans could change this dynamic by providing hospitals a new resource for patients who need a more flexible option to resolve their debt.
Other key findings of the survey include: