A new survey reveals the issues that detract from the patient experience.
Consumers need up-front information on out-of-pocket costs and extended payment options-and they’re willing to switch providers to get it, according to a new survey.
Two out of five consumers say they would switch providers to access affordable payment arrangements to cover their costs of care-including half of households with children, according to a recent AccessOne survey. Meanwhile, three out of four consumers are willing to shop around for care based on price, and 38% are already doing so. Consumers also are pushing for cost information before care is delivered.
“When consumers don’t feel prepared to manage the costs of their care, they are more likely to postpone treatment to avoid the expense,” says Mark Spinner, president and CEO, AccessOne, a provider of flexible, co-branded patient financing solutions located in Charlotte, North Carolina. “Fifty-six percent of consumers have delayed care due to costs. Twenty-six percent have delayed treatment by a year or more out of fear that they couldn’t afford it.”
According to the survey, 59% of consumers say providers’ willingness to share price information is a critical factor in determining where to seek care. This includes 69% of Gen Xers, who typically manage care for themselves, their parents, and their children.
“Consumers bear an enormous cost burden in a rising-rate healthcare environment, and it’s changing their behavior in a way that impacts market share for providers as well as core consumption of care and, ultimately, clinical outcomes,” Spinner says. “Providers that close the gap on price transparency and affordability are better positioned to earn consumers’ loyalty and trust as well as support better long-term health in their communities.”
The survey reveals the point at which healthcare costs become a concern for consumers. Forty percent aren’t sure how they would pay an unexpected medical expense under $500, and 60% say an unexpected medical bill of up to $999 would spark worry over how to manage the expense. Smaller amounts also are cause for concern for some consumers, with 22% saying a bill less than $250 would prompt financial stress.
Then there’s the matter of how to pay for the care they have received:
“Each of these experiences detracts from the patient experience,” Spinner says. “That’s why one of the biggest risks providers face when they don’t develop a patient-centric approach to price transparency is loss of patients.”
Based on the survey, Spinner recommends: