Guest post by Jeff Fountaine, director of healthcare, Ingenico Group.
In 2017, the healthcare industry is continuing to discuss the major shifts that are taking place around a patient’s financial responsibility. While it’s important to acknowledge that these discussions have been largely driven by significant changes to reimbursement models, it’s imperative that we look beyond this single causation. Financial responsibility involves more than simply making and collecting payments.
Consider these figures:
- Consumer payments to healthcare providers nearly doubled from 2012 to 2015
- Insurance deductibles have increased a startling 255 percent since 2006
- 84 percent of employers have increased or say they plan to increase insurance deductibles and/or co-pays for their plan participants
As a result, healthcare providers are managing much higher transaction volumes from patients, which is causing them to rethink their approach to collecting payments. A new approach requires a deep dive into payment security, PCI scope, EMV and workflow changes – a challenging proposition to say the least.
To understand these challenges and how healthcare providers are responding, let’s take a look at some of the top revenue cycle trends in the industry.
Key Revenue Cycle Trends
Bloomberg recently reported that the second-biggest for profit U.S. hospital chain revised its Q4 2015 provisions for bad debt up by $169 million. Forty percent, or $68 million, was from patients that were unable to pay deductibles and co-payments.
In a similar fashion, J.P. Morgan’s Key Trends in Healthcare Patient Payments report pointed out that the rate of bad debt for insured patients is increasing by over 30 percent per year at some hospitals.
Not surprisingly, these and other challenges stemming from increased patient responsibility are dominating the 2017 revenue cycle management agenda for senior finance executives in healthcare. Among the top revenue cycle initiatives for 2017 are several related to payments:
- Preventing or resolving underpayments
- Lowering the cost to collect patient payments
- Increasing collection rates among insured patients
- Collecting more balances at the point of service
Understanding the role of payment technologies
At its highest level, payment technology plays an important role in advancing revenue cycle initiatives and addressing increases in patient responsibility. Most importantly, the technologies offer patients easy and secure payment options at multiple touchpoints within the continuum of care.
Below are a few of the ways payment technologies help healthcare institutions achieve their revenue cycle objectives while improving the patient experience: