The Case for a Direct MobilePay Solution

Patient responsibility for the cost of medical care is exploding, putting tremendous pressure on health care financial executives from the largest and most sophisticated health systems to the solo practitioners.

Direct MobilePay is a novel solution to augment the collection efforts to patient self-pay balances and should be a part of the revenue cycle strategy to ensure success in an evolving payer landscape.

Direct MobilePay features drive payment performance from the hardest source to collect, patients;

  • Patients receive actionable SMS text messages and make payments within hours
  • There is no app to download or portal to log into
  • Augment existing collection toolsets without disruption to workflows and especially cash
  • Minimal lift to implement and go-live; hours rather than weeks or months
  • Modernized patient experience they have come to expect

The situation that got us here

Patient’s average annual deductibles have increased 53% over the last 5 years. Whether they have an annual deductible or not, patients now share a greater portion of their medical costs through co-pays (66% for PCP visit) and coinsurance (24%)1. During the 2016 open enrollment period, CMS reported 90% percent of the 12.7 million consumers in the health insurance exchange program selected a high-deductible plan.

Never before have patients been financially responsible for so much of their care. The impact of this new and growing responsibility is experienced in a number of ways. Since 2000, over $576B worth of medical services provided by hospitals of all kinds has gone unpaid2. Sixty-eight percent of patient with bills of $500 or less did not pay off the full balance during 2016 – up from 53% in 2015 and 49% in 20143.

This new reality of patients as payer number two behind CMS has led to 82% of healthcare organizations citing patient collections as their largest revenue cycle challenge.  It costs 4 times as much to collect from a patient as it does from an insurance company3. Existing strategies and toolsets are not performing, leading 82% of providers and 92% of hospitals to rethink their current payment systems for patient centric, consumer-like solutions4.

Patient’s expect a consumer billing experience 

Consumerism in healthcare is a broad subject, the reality of which remains debatable. There is however one place patients are behaving as consumers, and that is paying by phone. Ninety-nine percent of Americans have a cell phone today. Medical providers finally have an opportunity to make themselves easier to do business with.

A McKinsey & Company report on consumerism in healthcare found that 70% of patients prefer a digital solution to an in-person interaction, and 80% report preferring digital when it comes to making their payment5.

Despite growing data and requests for a modern retail or consumer experience, 86% of patients continue to receive confusing paper medical bills, while healthcare organizations collect just 20% of payments with some form using a mobile device3.

The consumer experiences in retail and hospitality have bled over to health care and represent an opportunity to succeed or fail to meet patient expectations with real financial and patient satisfactions implications.

What does today’s patient-centric, consumer-focused revenue cycle strategy look like?

U.S. Healthcare is evolving, and that is what makes this an exciting space to work within. The weight of the patient’s dollar to revenue cycle systems and the strategy to collect that dollar must provide options and align with modern trends. Effective revenue cycle managers are providing patients with payment options and closely watching how effective those options are, along with the costs to collect per each option.

Mailing paper statements, as nearly 100% of healthcare financial executives reported sending,7 and manning call centers remain viable components to a self-pay collection strategy. But, these are the two most expensive options with decreasing efficacy as demographics change and consumer preferences changed. Savings and patient satisfaction gains are available through convenient electronic payment options as patients continue to request such options.

Thanks to the regulatory requirements of meaningful use and efforts to engage patients, 90% percent of medical providers offer a patient portal8 and 92% of patients have “adopted” their portal9 . Despite broad offering and adoption rates, usage remains very low.. Portals were built for viewing, download and transmitting clinical data and evolved into “patient engagement” platforms offering patient-to-provider messaging, scheduling, prescription refills and, of course, billing. User experience is blamed for poor portal usage rates, a log-in and password required, navigation can be difficult, and they have not benefitted from a purpose-built design.

A mobile first, purpose-built approach to patient self-pay billing should leverage the powerful trend toward the use of SMS technology.  98% of SMS texts sent are read and 90% of those are read in just 3 seconds (compared to email where 70% of messages are ignored11)! Direct MobilePay allows a patient to make a payment directly from their phone without: an app to download, portal to log into, or links to chase around the Internet. Direct MobilePay requires:

  • minimal work to integrate and bring live
  • will never be considered an “IT project”
  • leverages existing financial channels to route and reconcile payments back to medical service providers.

For the opportunity to learn more please reach out to Jeb Burrows, Vice President of Business Development at CueSquared at jburrows@cuesquared.com or visit www.cuesquared.com.

Appendix

1 – Kaiser Family Foundation 2018 Summary of Findings – Employer Health Benefits

2 – American Hospital Association (https://www.aha.org/system/files/2018-01/2017-uncompensated-care-factsheet.pdf

3- Patients May be the New Payers  https://newsroom.transunion.com/patients-may-be-the-new-payers-but-two-in-three-do-not-pay-their-hospital-bills-in-full/

4 – Physicians Foundation – https://physiciansfoundation.org/

5 – Patient Healthcare Costs Up 30%, Spurs Patient Billing Changes, (https://patientengagementhit.com/news/patient-healthcare-costs-up-30-spurs-patient-billing-changes)

6 – McKinsey & Company – https://healthcare.mckinsey.com/healthcare-consumerism-2018-update-journey

7 – Waystar Second Annual Patient Payment Check-Up Survey – (https://public.zirmed.com/waystar-releases-second-annual-patient-payment-check-survey/ )

8 – MGMA Stat: Most practices offer a patient portal – (https://www.mgma.com/news-insights/quality-patient-experience/mgma-stat-most-practices-offer-a-patient-portal)

9 – American Hospital Association – aha.org

10 – GAO report: HHS Should Assess the Effectiveness of Its Efforts to Enhance Patient Access to and Use of Electronic Health Information https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-17-305

11- Dynamark report, Big Data; Profiling Your Mobile Customers – http://info.dynmark.com/hs-fs/hub/307137/file-650880813-pdf/whitepapers/Intelligence_Review_Edition2.pdf

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