As frustrating as the pandemic is for patients, frontline healthcare workers are exhausted, exhausted and quitting in battalions. This is impacting practices, including back office functions that are falling behind receivables.
Removing the friction of healthcare payments with specialized forms of credit can ease some of the pain felt by providers, while improving the patient experience.
Noting that “the patient has truly become the new payer”, CareCredit CEO Alberto Casellas said Karen Webster of PYMNTS, “The shift to consumerism and the consumer becoming a bigger payer of [medical bills] has definitely changed the way practices, providers and hospital systems are able to manage how they will be paid for the services they have rendered.
With greater financial responsibility on the shoulders of patients who are often unprepared to handle these expenses, understaffed practices find themselves circling third-party payers, “but they also have to deal with thousands of individual consumers.” who have [balances]said Casellas, significantly worsening the supplier’s cash flow crisis.
Treating consumers as payers “obviously requires a different setup,” he said.
“So you see the evolution of organizations into companies like Synchrony, where we [have] multiple ways to help healthcare providers and organizations manage consumers who owe a certain portion of that bill by providing flexibility in payment options and being able to shoulder that, freeing up that staff,” Casellas said.
The PYMNTS study found that 21% of consumers paid more in direct medical expenses in the past year, totaling $400 million in the United States. those who have insurance.
Get the study: How Improving Billing Experiences Impact Patient Loyalty
Reduce payment pain
Casellas told Webster that when it comes to healthcare costs, a little notice is very helpful.
“Being able to have these conversations at the point of care, before you get something after care, is something that I think is important for the industry to continue to look at,” he continued. “The trend is there, but again, it’s not where it needs to be.”
With PYMNTS research finding that 33% of consumers did not seek medical treatment in 2021 due primarily to financial limitations, that’s more revenue lost due to pressured practices.
The remedy, Casellas said, is “to partner with different organizations that provide this service and be able to reduce the time it takes for vendors to obtain these funds in order to improve cash flow, improve the overall experience and to give that particular consumer and/or patient the ability to have different options to be able to manage their own [healthcare] budget.”
Partnering with practices and raising awareness of financing options gives consumers peace of mind upfront and enables healthcare professionals to do their job.
“From that perspective, digital is the name of the game,” he said.
Read also: 21% of US consumers are paying more out-of-pocket healthcare costs this year
New year, new market approaches
Successive White House administrations have tackled America’s byzantine health care system with little success, leaving the private sector to remove the pain points of care and payment. And it’s an industry where people pay cash and checks.
“Using technology obviously advances how money moves from the hands of a consumer to the hands of the provider and allows them to use that particular asset or payment for the benefit of that provider,” Casellas said.
CareCredit is exploring new ways to roll out its health credit capabilities in 2022, including a buy-now, pay-later (BNPL) style four-way payment concept for smaller amounts, among other applications.
He added: “We are also looking at ways to make eComm payments and installment loans on larger ticket items in some areas of our business. We see that giving consumers more choice in order to be able to finance certain treatments… is a [opportunity] we see 2022 as an important part of how we continue to grow our network and…grow our business.
Financing other aspects of healthcare is another potential growth area for CareCredit that benefits practices, patients and payments at a time of skyrocketing medical debt.
“A consumer may open an account at a dental office because it’s an immediate need, but over the years we see that consumer using the account to purchase in other areas,” he said. “They can go to a vet because they have a dog. They can say, “I need LASIK surgery,” and they can use the locator and find a provider who accepts CareCredit. »
Health systems is another 2022 goal for CareCredit.
“It’s a big addressable market,” Casellas said. “It’s about $120 billion in disbursements, and many of these proceedings are scheduled.”
See also: CareCredit Expands Patient Finance App to Epic App Orchard