COVID-19 appeared in an environment where high-deductible healthcare plans mean nearly 24 million consumers already have exceptionally high costs for healthcare premiums and out-of-pocket costs, compared to their income, and where medical costs for a typical four-person U.S. family on an employee-sponsored PPO total $28,385, including premiums and out-of-pocket costs.
The additional strain caused by the crisis points to the absolute necessity for healthcare providers to be proactive in streamlining the financial experience for patients. This will be especially important as more patients face their own personal financial issues as layoffs, furloughs and job losses impact their medical insurance coverage and their ability to pay for medical care.
Mona Reimers, director of administrative operations with Ortho NorthEast in Fort Wayne, Indiana, said the patient financial experience still hinges on simplicity and predictability. "People like being able to pay online from an electronic statement. Most people are joining the crowd by paying bills by telephone or on the web, so healthcare has to get on the bandwagon,” said Reimers in "The Patient Financial Experience: Within and Beyond the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic."
This paper, a joint effort between MGMA and CareCredit, examines recent data on patient finances, the economic fallout from the coronavirus and strategic tips that practices can implement to educate patients on their financial options and help them find convenient, efficient ways to pay their bills.