Which New Challenges Are Facing Hospitals in Terms of Self-Pay Collections?

There is no healthcare service provider out there that hasn’t experienced the impact of high-deductible insurance. High deductibles or, even worse, no insurance policy at all, has created a much larger group of self-paying patients. While this isn’t good news for patients themselves who must face high debts, it’s bad news for healthcare providers, too. At one time, receiving payments was all about contacting insurers. These days, it’s more about trying to coerce hard-pressed patients into paying off their debts. This is proving to be just as difficult as it sounds. More people today are ill but cannot afford to make payments. So, how can healthcare providers manage their accounts receivable in this difficult climate? Could better healthcare online payment services be the answer?

Collecting debts in today’s self-pay era has become more complex than ever before. It has also become a lot more delicate to manage. As hospitals try to preserve their reputations while maintaining cash flow, it becomes a delicate balancing act. So, what exactly are the new challenges facing modern hospitals? And, how can they adapt their processes to the new financial situation?

The Hospital Payment Environment

What is the payment environment that hospitals are facing today? Yes, all the standard challenges regarding reimbursement remain. However, there are additional problems in terms of slower reimbursement and higher patient responsibility. Here are some statistics:

  • Seventy-four percent of medical service providers have seen a higher level of patient payment responsibility.
  • Around 70 percent of service providers report it takes a minimum of 30 days to collect from patients whose accounts are past due.
  • Consumer demand has increased for payment transparency. Ninety percent of all consumers want upfront information about how much their treatments will cost. They also want to know the exact amount they will need to pay.
  • Eighteen percent of online payments are made via mobile devices. Consumers are following this trend. They state they’d prefer to make payments for their healthcare online.

The Changes in The Self-Pay System

Since 2000, hospitals in the United States have reported more than $502 billion in uncompensated care. This is a trend that is being strongly driven by a change in self-pay collections. Let’s look at some of those changes:

  • The ACA was responsible for creating a new class of insured citizens. However, the plans soared in cost. This has led to some patients having to give up their insurance. Typically, these plans also have high costs for out-of-pocket expenses. This means that those who are newly insured face higher costs than they expected even once their insurance has kicked in.
  • More than 70 percent of healthcare service providers report patient financial responsibilities are their top worry regarding their revenue cycle. Self-pay dollars have dropped. Meanwhile, healthcare accounts receivable management systems are becoming more complex. As the number of self-pay accounts increase, the need for collections on past-due patient accounts rises.
  • Patients are also now facing a higher balance even after their insurance providers have reimbursed them. These balances are only expected to grow.

With all these elements in mind, could better healthcare online payment services help?

BillingTree’s Healthcare Online Payment Services

BillingTree offers cutting-edge healthcare online payment services for healthcare service providers in all areas of the medical sector. We offer a fully compliant and advanced solution that allows patients to make payments via online portals. Patients can use their preferred payment methods and make payments at a time to suit them. They can even make payments through their mobile devices. By offering the ability to create payment plans, BillingTree streamlines the process of receiving healthcare payments.