Patient payment trends are always changing, but the start of a new year is always a good time to evaluate and see how your urgent care center is measuring up to consumers’ expectations. Overall, patients are looking for convenient, digital payments in 2020. Let’s take a deeper look into this year’s trends and then see how they could impact your revenue cycle.
Top 5 Patient Payment Trends for 2020
- Patients Want Simplified Payment Processes
Consumers today are used to immediate responses and instant gratification, so to speak, after years of getting answers in seconds thanks to Google and other search engines. Hence, patients expect a simple patient payment process that feels like it belongs in 2020. Bills that require multiple steps or phone calls may discourage patients from paying on-time — or paying at all.
- Patients Are Owing More
Despite higher deductibles, patients are still receiving nearly the same amount of care, meaning they are now responsible for more costs. However, many patients are not prepared to shoulder these costs, with one in four Americans skipping treatment due to finances. Because of this, urgent care centers should not only strive to be transparent about price, but they should also be aware of their patients’ preferred payment methods. That way, UCC’s can simplify the billing process and increase the likelihood of receiving payment.
- Patients Wait to Pay
Many patients don’t pay their bill as soon as they receive it. Believe it or not, most of the time they’re not trying to avoid paying. Instead, many people don’t pay immediately because the number shocks them, and they have to take time to process it. Often the bill is more than they expected, or they receive it unexpectedly and are trying to understand why they have it. Sending automated payment reminders — at the patients’ preferred frequency and with personalized messaging — makes sure they are aware of their financial responsibilities before they get a surprise bill and increases speed to payment.
- Payment Processes are Still “Old School”
Consumers are becoming more and more technologically savvy. However, many healthcare facilities still have manual patient payment processes, and more still use paper. If your urgent care center falls into the latter category, consider embracing new technologies. From online payment portals to email statements and QR codes, the future of patient payments is digital.
- Medical Bills Confuse Patients
As previously mentioned, many patients are overwhelmed by their bills, and many simply don’t understand it. This will lead to some people who avoid paying because they don’t want to pay for something they don’t understand. Providing financial education — or even having a brief discussion during their visit — can help patients not only have a better experience but also be prepared when their bills do come in the mail.
Decreasing Revenue Cycles in 2020
So now that you know five of the patient payment trends that are making an impact this year, let’s talk more about how you can use this information to your advantage and increase collections.
Like we just mentioned, think about how you can implement more financial education and price transparency in your urgent care center. Often there are “hidden” costs that patients don’t expect, and that can quickly add up. By chatting with them about different line items that could be on their bill, you can reassure them and help them understand their financial responsibilities.
Consider implementing a more modern, simplified patient payments system, and one that offers payment plans, if possible. By utilizing digital tools, you’ll be more likely to capture payments from millennials and other young people who are more comfortable with paying online. You can always include a phone number in your documentation to appeal to those who would rather call in their payments.
Further, using a digital engagement platform like PatientBond allows you to tailor the patient payment process to each individual patient. Our proprietary psychographic segmentation model helps urgent care centers identify which patients would prefer to receive an email to pay online, and who would rather call after receiving a bill in the mail. This platform also lets you send automated payment reminders at the right time, through the right channel and with the right messaging to inspire self-pay — all while taking the burden off your staff.
Rethinking your billing process based on 2020 trends can improve revenue cycle management and increase urgent care collections. For more patient payment insights, download our case study.