Healthcare price transparency solutions for consumer-centric billing

July 21, 2023 by Experian Health

In today’s healthcare landscape, providers face the challenge of making costs transparent and understandable for consumers. The Hospital Price Transparency Rule has driven progress in this area, but there is still work to be done. In 2022, 70% of hospitals complied with the Hospital Price Transparency Rule, up from 21% in 2021, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The Rule mandates hospitals to provide consumer-friendly pricing displays for more than 300 shoppable services, plus a machine-readable file with rate information. To address this challenge, healthcare organizations need to leverage price transparency solutions that empower patients throughout their financial journey. By equipping patients with advanced knowledge of treatment costs and coverage details, providers can facilitate informed healthcare decisions, expedite payments, foster patient loyalty, and gain a competitive advantage.

Prevent confusion about costs with transparent healthcare pricing

A recent KFF survey found that almost six in ten insured healthcare consumers have encountered problems paying for care in the last year. More than half said they found it difficult to understand their health insurance, while three in ten said their insurance paid less than expected. Confusion about coverage can lead to delays, denials and difficulties in accessing care.

Two scenarios are common when patients are faced with unexpected and increasing healthcare costs: 1) they delay care until their year-end deductibles are met, or 2) they forego care completely. Neither is good for their health, and both can disrupt providers’ revenue cycles. By arming patients with advanced knowledge of treatment costs and how these will be split between patients and payers, providers can help patients make informed healthcare decisions without worrying about sticker shock.

And price transparency is not just a question of compliance – making healthcare billing more transparent can be a driver for growth, through expedited payments, patient loyalty and market advantage. Compassionate financial counseling, flexible financing programs, clear billing statements and simple payment options all play a role.

What can providers do to improve price transparency?

Step 1 in delivering price transparency is to ensure compliance with the Hospital Price Transparency Rule. Experian Health and Cleverley + Associates have partnered to help providers satisfy the requirements. Experian Health’s Patient Estimates supports providers in compiling the required list of shoppable service items, while Cleverley + Associates delivers the machine-readable files quickly and at scale.

Jamie Cleverley, President of Cleverley + Associates, says: “Trying to pull together all of the required information in one place led to a lot of complexity for hospitals, at a time when a lot were short-staffed. We became a natural resource for hospitals. Since we have the information and the technical capacity, we could relieve the anxiety around compliance.”

Riley Matthews, Lead Product Manager at Experian Health, says the joint approach has succeeded in helping hospitals comply with both aspects of the rule: “We had a portal that we can integrate with our clients’ websites, where patients are able to walk through a user experience that guides them to their price estimates. Cleverley came in with the complex machine-readable files and has been a fantastic partner from the start… We’re able to solve both sides of the price transparency rule and provide a holistic solution that delivers value for our clients.”

Hear Riley Matthews and Jamie Cleverley discuss how this strategic partnership will help healthcare organizations address the challenges with compliance:

Utilizing healthcare price transparency solutions throughout the patient journey

To round out the patient financial experience, healthcare organizations should consider proactive solutions that promote clarity and convenience at every financial touchpoint. For example:

  • Patient Financial Advisor is the first solution in the market to provide consumers with a pre-service, mobile-estimated patient responsibility and payment experience. This allows patients to make easy, secure payments as soon as they’re ready. Patients get a clear breakdown of everything they need to know about their financial obligations, delivered straight to their mobile devices.
  • To solve for confusion around coverage, Experian Health’s Coverage Discovery® solution helps patients find missing or forgotten coverage. Patients welcome their providers’ help in identifying additional coverage options, so they aren’t billed for costs unnecessarily. Providers can seek reimbursement through those plans, rather than sending accounts to collections.
  • Providers can also promote clarity when it comes to payments. PatientSimple offers patients a secure, 24/7 portal to view and manage their healthcare costs in a straightforward and convenient way. Not only can they see accurate price estimates at the touch of a button, but they can also apply for charity care, set up payment plans, update payer information and make payments to multiple providers.

Implementing healthcare price transparency solutions to meet regulatory requirements

Creating a more transparent approach to healthcare pricing and billing can be a daunting task in the context of ongoing regulatory change and operational challenges. It’s time to incorporate Experian Health’s innovative solutions to navigate ongoing regulatory changes, overcome operational challenges, and enhance the financial experience for both providers and patients.

Find out more about how Experian Health is helping providers comply with price transparency rules and exceed patient expectations for clear and comprehensive billing experiences.

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