Twenty-two percent of Millennials, 17% of members of Generation X, and 12% of Baby Boomers have been unable to pay a medical bill in full and had it sent to collections, according to the results of a survey conducted by AccessOne, a provider of patient financing solutions. Overall, a significant portion of the respondents have delayed care because they could not afford it, used a credit card to pay for a medical bill, or borrowed money from friends or family to cover a healthcare debt.
Two out of five individuals –including half of the households with children — said they would switch healthcare providers based on their access to affordable payment arrangements, according to the survey. Both of those figures are up from last year’s study, when 33% of individuals and 43% of households with kids said they would switch providers to receive better payment options.
For clients of collection agencies collecting healthcare debt, pricing transparency, and easy-to-use and understand billing practices are more important than ever before.
The price point at which healthcare debts become significant financial burdens for individuals is very low, according to the survey. About 40% of respondents said they were not sure how they would be able to pay an emergency healthcare debt of $500, and 22% said a debt of $250 would “spark financial stress.”
Among the “action steps” recommended by AccessOne are:
- Put patients at the heart of your price transparency strategy.
- Initiate patient financial discussions early in the patient encounter.
- Develop patient-friendly billing statements.
- Offer flexible options for payment.
- Create a seamless patient financial experience.
- Provide self-service options for account management and payment.