In the past two years, the number of uninsured Millennials has increased from 11 to 16 percent. What’s more, 40 percent of Millennials who are insured have selected high-deductible health plans. Add in the fact that Millennials have less disposable income than older generations, thanks to college debt and the gig economy, and it’s no surprise that TransUnion data finds this generation is officially the slowest paying of all time when it comes to patient payments.
According to TransUnion’s survey, nearly 75 percent of all Millennial patients fail to make patient payments on time and in full. But financial hardship isn’t the only reason for the issue. Overcoming the collections hurdle requires healthcare organizations to adapt their billing process to better meet Millennial’s unique needs and preferences. So, what are Millennials looking for?
Accelerate Patient Payments with Technology
As we’ve noted previously, Millennials have some very specific expectations of healthcare providers. As digital natives, Millennials are accustomed to smartphones and instant access to the web — and they want healthcare organizations to support digital engagement. Recently, Forbes highlighted a number of millennial expectations related to healthcare:
- 50 percent use online reviews to select healthcare providers
- 60 percent would prefer virtual visits over an in-person one
- Over 66 percent want post-visit follow-ups via email or text message
- 71 percent want to schedule appointments, access medical records or receive automated appointment reminders via an app
As Kim Jenkins, CEO of OrthoSouth, told Forbes, “Convenience, availability, and accessibility are paramount for capturing millennial patients. Online appointment scheduling, easy access to medical records and a simplified communication path to providers are all key elements to meeting the expectations of Millennials.”
Since these expectations are overwhelmingly aligned to digital tools, the path to improved patient payment collections should certainly include digital options as well.
In addition, price transparency is a clear advantage among millennial patients. Healthcare providers like retail clinics and urgent care facilities tend to attract Millennials because of convenience, but the fact that these types of providers also offer greater clarity on costs is a benefit too.
But digital tools and price lists won’t yield improved patient payment collections if healthcare providers use one-size-fits-all messaging for engaging patients.
Using psychographic segmentation to optimize collections
While Millennials gravitate toward digital solutions in their lives, they still bring unique attitudes and beliefs about health and wellness that influence how they engage with healthcare providers. By using psychographic segmentation to better understand what motivates patients, hospitals, medical practices, and urgent care centers can align messaging to resonate with each individual — and that includes patient payment collections.
For example, the automated patient engagement platform, PatientBond, identifies individual patients as one of five psychographic segments: Self Achievers, Balance Seekers, Priority Jugglers, Direction Takers or Willful Endurers.
Millennials are statistically more likely to be Willful Endurers than all other segments, but healthcare providers still need to adapt messaging to appeal to the other segments. The PatientBond platform facilitates customized communications, via the patient’s preferred channel — whether that is an email, an automated, interactive phone call or a text message. By using more relevant, compelling messages that include convenient payment options, healthcare organizations can realize numerous advantages. Using the PatientBond patient engagement platform has resulted in:
- 7X increase in day-to-day collections
- 3X higher engagement rate than traditional collection calls
In addition, automating the patient payment collections process yields additional benefits for healthcare providers. Reducing or eliminating the need for paper statements can save up to $750 a day. Using a digital platform for collections can also save 2-3 hours of work a day, allowing staff to focus on higher-value tasks. These advantages can quickly add up to significant savings — one five-location urgent care center achieved cost savings of $55,000 in just one year.
Millennials may struggle to pay healthcare bills for a variety of reasons, but with automated patient payment reminders that are adapted to a patient's psychographic segment, healthcare providers can better address millennial expectations and improve patient payment collections at the same time.
For more on how psychographic segmentation and automated payment reminders can help your organization accelerate payments among millennial consumers, download our case study.