Patient financial responsibility is on the rise and shows no signs of slowing down. As medical debt continues to be a growing problem in the United States, many Americans are experiencing financial instability.

In fact, more than 137 million Americans were burdened by medical debt between 2015 and 2017.

However, it’s not just purely financial reasons that people don’t pay their medical bills. A McKinsey study found that 74 percent of insured consumers are both able and willing to pay their out-of-pocket medical expenses, up to $1,000 per year.

Patients Are Confused with Medical Bills

Patients are often confused and frustrated when they get multiple bills for the same medical procedure. Many patients don’t understand the reason that one visit can be split up into multiple bills.

In the surgical industry, this would often mean separate bills from the surgeon, the lab, the anesthesiologist, and the surgical facility. Higher-than-expected charges, unclear statements, and bills arriving months late create a perfect storm for poor patient financial experience.

The media is full of stories of patients experiencing uncertainty, confusion, and even anger concerning medical bills and healthcare costs.

According to InstaMed’s Trends in Healthcare Payments 2019 Report:

  • 70% of consumers are confused by their medical bill
  • 91% of consumers were surprised by a medical bill in 2019
  • Millennials and Gen X are 28% more likely than Baby Boomers to consider switching a healthcare provider for a better payment experience

Medical bills often become much bigger than patients expect since most healthcare providers do not share prices (or even estimates) before the surgical procedure or visit.

When patients have been in surgery with a full care team or have done several follow-up tests, medical bills often arrive separately. When this happens, patients become confused about what they owe and why. They may also believe they’re being double-billed, so they don’t know where to start paying and they either delay payments or don’t make them at all.

One of the most common reasons patients stall paying their medical bills is because they aren’t confident that their balance is accurate or owed by them. This is especially true in the surgical industry.

Why? Because in surgery there are so many moving parts. The patient receives several different bills related to one surgical episode that patients aren’t exactly sure how the providers and their health insurance company have sorted everything out.

If patients are confused and are not confident about their medical bill, they might just not pay in the hopes of either buying time or having their healthcare facility discover some error especially when patients receive a bill that is higher than their expectation.

A study by West Corporation revealed several reasons why patients delay medical payments or don’t pay at all:

  • 42 percent of patients delay medical payments due to high deductibles
  • 30 percent of patients cited “confusion about how much insurance will cover what patients owe”
  • 30 percent cited “receiving bills for services patients don’t think they should have to pay for”
  • 25 percent of patients cited “waiting to receive the final bill so they are sure of the amount owed”
  • 11 percent of patients cited “uncertainty about what payment method to use”

Patient Financial Advocates Can Make A Difference

In order to create a better financial experience, what all patients need is just a little bit of help. A patient financial advocate can address all the issues mentioned previously.

This is why Mnet offers providers Patient Financial Advocates as part of our patient billing solutions.

We’ve learned! Before we offer financing — before we offer a payment plan — before we offer a payment portal — we offer to explain their balance!  Patients will be much more likely to pay this way.

Patient Financial Advocates are a huge key to our success in our mission to helping patients pay their medical bills.

Patient financial advocates “educate” patients on what they owe for treatment and why they owe this amount whether in advance of receiving care (providing an estimate) or even aftercare. They answer patients’ questions and help patients cover their financial responsibility, including offering payment plans and financing options to cover surgical costs.

Working with patients based on their actual needs will help create a positive financial relationship with them, thereby increasing patient loyalty and boosting collections performance.

Learn more about Mnet’s Patient Financial Advocates.

Our Patient Financial Advocates (PFA’s) can help your patient understand their insurance benefits and their medical bill. Our PFA’s are uniquely trained to walk patients through their financial options including sensible payment plans, responsible funding options, and compliant charity care programs. We work until late in the evenings and on weekends, so a friendly and helpful multilingual agent is always available to be of assistance.

  • A seamless extension of your billing office
  • Agents support your approved payment plan & financing offerings
  • Available nights and weekends (8 am – 8 pm CST)
  • Agents can access billing history to explain the out of pocket balance

    About Mnet Health

    Mnet Health is the premier revenue cycle management and technology provider in the surgical industry. We provide custom patient-pay solutions to surgical hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers. As of 2020, Mnet Health partners with over 700 surgical facilities nationwide and is the preferred vendor of both United Surgical Partners International (USPI) and Surgical Care Affiliates (SCA) – both directly with and in support of centralized billing offices. Mnet’s custom brand, PaySUITE, is a white-labeled payment technology platform that helps surgical facilities and their providers grow their business by helping patients pay.

    We believe every patient deserves a helpful, transparent, easy to navigate financial experience in healthcare.

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