Transforming financial exposure is changing the operating burden for provider business offices. Larger consumer balances and surprises in the balance due are increasing the need to speak to business office teams. The larger the bill, the more likely patients will call the business office after service which drives service center cost. Clearly, there is a potential benefit to moving engagement with patients earlier and adding transparency.
Among those patients that had payment responsibility that exceeded their expectation, 63% have or will call the business office. By comparison, among those where the balance met expectations, 70% will not call.
It is surprising that, given how important expectation setting is proving to be and the rapid escalation in balance size, only 35% of consumers with payment responsibility noted being called prior to treatment to receive an estimate. In effect, two out of three went to treatment without any expectation yet had an obligation coming. Positively, higher balance patients tend to have higher pre-arrival engagement. However, even here, more than half show up without any business office expectation setting.
Among those patients not engaged pre-service, those with larger balances wish they had been. By knowing what is owed upfront, patients are telling us it will improve their overall experience.
Consumerism in healthcare is in full effect and patients are more cost-conscious than ever. Rising out-of-pocket costs influence provider choice, with more than 50% indicating that out-of-pocket costs will have significant or highly significant influence.
In Part 3 of the Consumer Impact Survey, we will focus on the generational differences in the financial experience.