Healthcare payment predictions for 2022

Published: November 16, 2021 by Experian Health

Being able to settle bills anytime, anywhere, is one of the reasons why 110 million Americans switched to “digital-first” payment methods last year. Today’s consumers can pay household bills with their mobile devices while cooking dinner or waiting in the school pick-up line. They can pay for their morning coffee by tapping their phone at the point of sale. Imagine their frustration when paying for healthcare still involves paper bills, multiple phone calls, and limited payment options.

But the healthcare industry can make the same “anytime, anywhere” payment promise. Berenice Navarrete, Director of Product Management for Patient Payments at Experian Health, says: “We’ve seen healthcare make great strides in using automation and digital tools for scheduling, registration, and telehealth, fueled in no small part by the pandemic. As consumer payments are constantly evolving, there are huge opportunities for improvements in the patient payment experience too.”

“We’ve seen healthcare make great strides in using automation and digital tools for scheduling, registration, and telehealth, fueled in no small part by the pandemic. As consumer payments are constantly evolving, there are huge opportunities for improvements in the patient payment experience too.”

-Berenice Navarrete, Director of Product Management for Patient Payments

Experian Health’s recent Payments Predictions white paper identifies seven emerging healthcare payment predictions and trends heading into 2022. This blog offers a preview of the top three insights that will be of interest to providers intending to leverage – or considering – digital tools that simplify payments and speed up healthcare collections.

Prediction: Patients want fast, secure and smooth payments to match their experience in other industries.

According to Experian Health’s State of Patient Access 2.0 survey, providers are feeling more confident about collecting payments from patients now, compared to a year ago. However, the collections landscape is always changing; providers should continue to find ways to match consumer expectations with tailored communications, flexible payment options and automated payment methods.

Listen in as Matt Baltzer, Senior Director of Product Management at Experian Health, explains why providers feel more confident about patient collections. He also discusses how automated healthcare solutions can help providers shore up these gains and optimize healthcare collections – especially as consumer behavior returns to pre-pandemic patterns.

As cash usage declines, patients are looking for a wider variety of payment options – a trend that’s likely to gather steam as digital payment platforms like Apple Pay and Google Pay continue to gain traction. Providers must keep pace with these advances in consumer payment technology.

Utilizing Patient Financial Advisor is one way to give patients the flexible experience they want. This solution sends personalized text messages with links to convenient and contactless ways to pay.  Patients may have different preferences about payment methods, but they all want to feel confident that their payment is secure. With PaymentSafe, healthcare providers can collect any form of payment securely and quickly, regardless of the payment option a patient chooses.

Prediction: Patient loyalty will be tied to a convenient and compassionate payment experience.

A poor payment experience will leave a bad taste in the patient’s mouth, regardless of how good the rest of their healthcare journey has been. With 70% of consumers saying healthcare is the industry that makes it hardest to pay, any provider that offers a smooth, supportive and transparent payment experience is going to stand out from the competition and foster greater patient loyalty.

Comprehensive consumer data can give providers early and accurate insights into a patient’s specific financial situation. This information can help providers direct the patient to the most appropriate financing options. Automation can then be leveraged to send timely reminders of open balances, improve patient engagement and minimize the risk of missed payments.

Tools such as Patient Financial Advisor and Patient Payment Estimates can help providers give patients transparency, control and reassurance from the very start of their financial journey, so bills are settled quickly and easily.

Prediction: Automation will be used for an increasing number of payment-related tasks.

Artificial intelligence and automation aren’t just for cars and the metaverse. Technological advancements are opening up a wide range of benefits to healthcare providers, from faster patient payments to fraud prevention. Automation also enables operational efficiencies in reporting and reconciliation, while protecting and processing unprecedented amounts of patient data.

For example, Collections Optimization Manager uses extensive datasets and advanced analytics to segment patient accounts according to each individual’s specific financial situation. Patient satisfaction will improve because patients receive the right support at the right time. Additionally, providers will be able to use monitoring and benchmarking data to spot previously unseen opportunities and further improve collections.

Keeping that “anytime, anywhere” promise

COVID-19 was a catalyst for the evolution of healthcare payments. Digital payment solutions that give patients easy, convenient, and safe ways to pay not only help meet changing consumer expectations but will also allow providers to boost loyalty and revenue for years to come.

Download the white paper to discover a full list of healthcare payment predictions and find out how to create a modern payment experience that meets patient expectations.

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