Ten years of trends in healthcare payments: What every CEO should know

InstaMed, a J.P. Morgan company | June 17, 2020

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The Trends in Healthcare Payments Annual Report has captured the growing role of consumers in healthcare payments, the corresponding impacts for providers and payers, as well as advances in payment technology and its adoption, over the past decade. The trends reveal a preference for digital payment options in healthcare, especially for consumers. This demand is set to accelerate as the impacts of COVID-19 will not only require more contactless and digital experiences, but the past several weeks have demonstrated that rapid digital adoption can happen in healthcare. Early data shows a tremendous increase in digital experiences like telemedicine and a corresponding high consumer satisfaction rate with these experiences according to PWC’s Health Research Institute.

Consumer Expectations for Healthcare Payments Are Not Being Met

The report finds that consumers are regularly the hardest hit by healthcare payment trends. This group must manage consistently increasing payment responsibility with outdated payment methods and channels, coupled with often confusing information.

  • 91% of consumers were surprised by a medical bill in 2019
  • 83% of consumers prefer electronic payment methods for medical bills
  • 77% of consumers want to enroll in eStatements from providers, yet only 23% of consumers receive eStatements

Demographic factors, including age and gender, can exacerbate the negative experiences.

  • Women are 22% more likely to be unable to pay off a balance of $1,000+
  • Millennials and Gen X are 28% more likely than Baby Boomers to consider switching a health are provider for a better payment experience
  • 90% of Millennials want to enroll in eStatements

Providers Struggle to Make Changes at Scale

The consistent increase in patient responsibility impacts provider organizations of all sizes. Providers tend to struggle to keep up with increases in patient collections but are not universally adopting tools that eliminate the burdens of collections. The consequences of manual and paper-based processes for healthcare payments are seen in the form of bad debt, wasted spending and damages to brand trust and loyalty.

  • 87% of providers leverage paper and manual processes for collections
  • 78% of providers cannot collect a $1,000+ patient balance in 30 days
  • 66% of providers state their primary revenue cycle concern is patient receivables

Payers Face Pressure from All Stakeholders

Payers have been instrumental in helping to shape many of the industry trends over the past decade including shifts in consumer responsibility. Yet, they also hold onto legacy channels and processes that produce poor experiences. Paper dominates both consumer and provider payment experiences with payers. Yet, payers state a desire to prioritize the advances that would bring change.

  • 86% of payers prioritize consumer preference for making all of their healthcare payments in one place, but only 38% say direct-to-consumer solutions are a top priority
  • 81% of payers still deliver checks to providers
  • 71% of payers leverage or plan to leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning offerings

The Future of Healthcare Payments in a COVID-19 World and Beyond

Every year, the Trends in Healthcare Payments Annual Report is distributed to fuel conversation about the current state of the industry and to promote change that benefits consumers, providers and payers. The latest report utilized qualitative and quantitative data from 2019, yet it is impossible to ignore how 2020 and COVID-19 will have permanent impacts on the healthcare industry including healthcare payments. The long-term impacts are predicted to bring additional spotlight to eradicating manual, paper-based, human-dependent approaches to healthcare payments. Significant increase in contactless payments, high growth in remote patient check-in, meaningful expansion of telemedicine and an unprecedented shift to digital experiences in healthcare are all likely consequences of COVID-19 that are expected to drive future trends in healthcare payments.

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About the Author

InstaMed, a J.P. Morgan company, author

InstaMed powers a better healthcare payments experience on one platform that connects consumers, providers and payers for every healthcare payment transaction. InstaMed’s patented, private cloud-based technology securely transforms healthcare payments by driving electronic transactions, moving money and healthcare data seamlessly and improving consumer satisfaction. Everyone benefits from InstaMed’s exclusive focus on healthcare, integration into any healthcare IT system, robust analytics and proven scale.