Consumers are confused by costs
Unlike other industries, healthcare services are often provided before consumers even know the price. Without this insight, misunderstandings regarding the nuances of co-pays, deductibles, coinsurance and maximum out-of-pocket costs can occur.
According to a recent TransUnion Healthcare patient survey, only 51% of respondents said they fully understood their financial responsibility for medical bills. As such, it’s no wonder more than half of patients report being surprised by a medical bill they expected to be covered by their health insurance.1
What can providers do to better educate patient populations on benefits and costs associated with care?
- Recognize patients are actively researching costs.
Per our survey, 75% of patients utilize either healthcare provider or payer/insurance websites, among other sources, to research the cost of care. This percentage is even higher with younger patients — at 85% and 84% for Gen Z and Millennial respondents, respectively.
Ensure your organization is part of this research ecosystem by making prices transparent, and having online estimation tools easily accessible on your website.
- Provide accurate patient payment estimates.
An engaged patient is more likely to seek care and pay for it. In fact, 62% of survey respondents said knowing out-of-pocket expenses impacts their likelihood of pursuing care. Just under half (49%) of patients said that having clear, out-of-pocket cost estimates impacts their decision to use a healthcare provider. This information is increasingly important for Gen Z and Millennials seeking care, as 65% and 60%, respectively, say it influences their decision to visit the doctor.
An estimate can also drive payment. We found 65% of respondents would be more willing to make at least a partial payment when an estimate is given at the time of service.
- Understand how the state of the economy impacts healthcare decisions.
With media reports of a weakening economy, 25% of patients surveyed stated they plan to proactively get a checkup or other medical treatment they’ve been putting off. This may be related to a fear they could lose health insurance if their job situation changes. This percentage is highest — at nearly one-third — with the Millennial population.
For providers, this is a good reminder to be more aware of external pressures that may drive care decisions.
Download our infographic for more insights into payment trends based on generational patient behaviors.