Over the course of a single year, the United States spends $3.5 trillion on healthcare. However, every year, the economic trends of the healthcare payment system seem to change. In 2019, there have been several changes that have affected both patients and practices. Let’s take a closer look at some of these.
- Moving to Value from Volume
Until recently, the FFS model (fee-for-service) encouraged providers to deliver a higher volume of care. This was usually at the expense of cost or even quality. However, 2019 is seeing an increasing move toward a value-based model of care. This increases the attention paid by practices (and patients) to costs. With this in mind, patients, who now pay larger amounts out of pocket, are getting better value for their money. Those who find that they are not are increasingly looking elsewhere for their healthcare services. As a result, practices everywhere are having to up their game. It is now necessary to find ways of delivering quality at a lower price to patients or risk failure.
- Higher Deductibles Are Making Patients Cost-Sensitive
The previous point leads to this – patients are rapidly becoming cost-sensitive because of high deductibles. Consumers are increasingly paying larger amounts of their medical bills themselves. Usually, this amounts to thousands of dollars before their insurance company will pay the remainder. This is a trend that will continue in the near future and that has an impact on healthcare payment systems. This year, many patients are falling into medical debt. Unfortunately, these figures will only rise over time. Practices must, therefore, find ways to facilitate patient payments to keep cash flowing.
- A Move Toward Online Payments
Increasingly, over the last few years, practices have moved toward shifting their systems online. There are many reasons for this. Not the least is the drive toward lowering overall costs. Under the value-based care system, practices are having to find ways to reduce their expenses. This allows them to provide better value-based care for their patients. Part of this is to free up staff time to focus on other elements of the practice. This is because automating the process reduces the onerous burden on front desk employees. By putting in place online healthcare payment systems, staff members no longer need to process manual payments. By facilitating online billing, staff members no longer need to draw up and mail manual invoices.
Web portals offer patients a host of benefits, too. Patients must pay a larger portion of their costs. Therefore, making it simpler and more painless to do so helps to make patients’ lives easier at a challenging time. For practices, the benefits lie in increasing their revenue and keeping cash flowing with less need to chase after nonpayers.
BillingTree designed its payment systems to accommodate the needs of 2019’s practices and patients. Fully integrated with existing systems and simple to implement, they are fully compliant and user-friendly. Offering options from online or telephone card payments to ongoing payment plans, BillingTree’s solutions are in line with the trend.
Managing the Latest Trends
Every year sees new economic trends of the healthcare payment system. However, it is likely that the three trends mentioned here will stay in place for several years to come. As we move closer to value-based care models, practices must look for better options to facilitate the patient payment experience. By putting in place the most up-to-date healthcare payment solutions, the healthcare industry can move forward. Failing to take this action can only result in stagnation, greater cash flow problems, and a backward-thinking system.