Adding fuel to the fire of revenue collection

May 5th, 2017

Earlier this month, we talked about the impact of high health insurance deductibles on revenue collection and the importance of training staff to handle sensitive financial conversations with patients.

In a recent article, “15 things to know about hospital billing and patient payments,” Becker’s Hospital Report looked at this issue from a different perspective, adding even more weight to successful billing interactions.

Among its observations:

  • Fifty-three percent of Americans believe receiving a large, unaffordable medical bill is as bad as being diagnosed with a serious illness, and 10 percent believe a large medical bill is worse than a diagnosis, according to an Ipsos/Amino
  • In the same survey, 37 percent of Americans said they could not pay for an unexpected medical bill that exceeded $100 without going into debt, and only 23 percent would be able to cover an unexpected medical bill of more than $2,000.
  • Medical bills confuse most patients. According to a Mad*Pow report released in 2016, 60.5 percent of patients said the medical bills they received were either confusing or very confusing.

The Ipsos/Amino survey also noted a lack of understanding of potential costs among consumers. For example, the median network rate (what a patient and their insurance company would pay combined) to fix a broken arm in the United States is $1,100, yet many Americans estimate it costs less than $500. Only 7 percent of Americans estimated within the correct price range.

For revenue cycle leaders, those are a lot of walls to break down. And for affected staff, it can be hard to break through.

These reports provide an interesting, if foreboding, view of the issue. They’re worth a read – and, as indicated previously, appropriate action to assure staff effectively can educate, inform and communicate with such consumers.