The Future of Healthcare Payments: Four Trends to Watch

October 25, 2017         By: Chris Seib

The data analyzed in the Trends in Healthcare Payments Seventh Annual Report: 2016 reveals that consumers are and will continue to be a driving force in the industry – impacting all four of the key areas identified in the report. These four areas require the attention of both the healthcare and payments industries to address the new role of consumers and the expectations they bring to the industry, as well as promote efficiency and security for a streamlined and safe payment experience.

  • Consumer Demands Are the New Normal
    Consumers are disrupting “business as usual” in the industry. This new reality is spurred on by increases in financial responsibilities for consumers, which are primarily in the form of health plan premiums, deductibles, copayments, coinsurance, etc. As their payment responsibility continues to increase, consumer demands will become the biggest drivers of change for providers and payers. Providers must collect larger amounts from most or all of their patients, while payers must interact with members in new ways including collecting health plan premiums.

Despite these relationship shifts, many in the industry have been slow to acknowledge or encourage the new role of consumers as an industry stakeholder. Consumers often do not know how much they will owe until they get a paper statement from a provider or EOB from a payer, which often lead to high levels of confusion and frustration. If consumer needs are not met, there are real impacts to an organization’s revenue and brand trust.

 

  • Omnichannel Payments Answer Consumer Demands
    Consumers bring their expectations and experiences from other industries to healthcare payments. It isn’t just about millennials either. The demand for an omnichannel payment experience is true across all generations, including baby boomers. Omnichannel payments offer consumers the ability to pay how they want at their discretion. There is a clear connection between consumer preference and payment channels that promote convenience and simplicity. Electronic and automated payment channels will become the norm in healthcare payments, as they already are in other industries. Providers and payers who offer an omnichannel approach to payments will be rewarded with consumer loyalty, brand trust and revenue to sustain the future of their organizations.
  • The Industry Is Prime to Go Paperless
    The healthcare industry is one of the last places where transactions are primarily done on paper. The burden of paper is a drag on the entire industry causing wasted time and money, even causing physician burnout. There is a growing consensus among providers and consumers that eliminating paper in favor of electronic payments is the preferred way to get paid. There are significant opportunities to reduce the waste of paper by harnessing the potential of electronic transactions, especially when leveraged with automation. The potential cost savings and lower overall administrative resources could save the industry billions of dollars.

 

  • Security and Compliance Must Be a Priority
    Any organizations unsure if their data is at risk should assume the worst. Ransomware, data breaches and stolen information make data in the healthcare industry a constant target to hackers and thieves – all of which cost the industry billions of dollars. The impact of unsecure data has not gone unnoticed as consumers and providers reported payment security is very important. Consequences of unsecure data and noncompliant processes and systems will continue to cost the industry billions of dollars. Organizations can ensure that their data is secure and reduce the risk of a breach by meeting industry standards, and obtaining audits and certifications from respected industry groups.

The Trends in Healthcare Payments Seventh Annual Report: 2016 is now available to download – free of charge. For the last seven years, InstaMed has released this report to objectively educate the market and promote awareness, change and greater efficiency through quantitative data from the InstaMed Network and qualitative data from healthcare providers, payers and consumers surveyed nationwide.

Chris Seib, Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder at InstaMed – Before founding InstaMed, Chris was an executive in Accenture’s Health and Life Sciences practice. Chris has been involved in strategic development efforts regarding government health initiatives, consumer-directed health plans and direct connectivity between providers and payers. Chris has certifications and expertise in Programming, Architecture, User Experience, Database Technologies, Networks, Network Architecture, Security and Project Management. Chris is a named inventor of multiple patents and patent applications held by InstaMed.