We have come a long way from the days when patients in the U.S. did not have to foot all that much for healthcare — when it came to doctor visits and the like. How small was the out-of-pocket? About 5 percent of the bill. Now? It’s 20 percent.
Along the way, patients have been paying higher deductibles, and with crushing healthcare expenses, some beleaguered citizens are finding it hard to pay on time, if they pay at all. The result is that healthcare companies have to initiate a paper-chase to get paid. The write-offs are about $60 billion.
Against that backdrop, healthcare itself is changing — at least the business model.
From in-person visits to telemedicine, we may become less of a nation spending time in waiting rooms and rather doing diagnoses over bits and bytes. Elsewhere, the concierge model is getting adapted and adopted.
What might this mean for healthcare payments? As Bill Lodes, EVP of First American, told PYMNTS’ Karen Webster in the latest Topic TBD, payment models need to do some catch up. The way we pay is shifting, and mobile is making inroads. With more payments paid upfront before anything gets done in surgery or at the doctor’s office, a recurring payment arrangement, with cards on file, may make sense. Portals become important.
The paper statements? The billing statements and the “this is not a bill statements” can be wasteful and ineffective. Lodes said, “With more sophisticated plans coming into play, [they need] to be more upfront with the patient as to how much they are going to be responsible [paying] for that procedure.”
Read on to get a sense of how that mission may become a bit less onerous for healthcare providers, from clinics to hospitals to doctors.