August 02, 2019 Welcome to the New AxiaMed Blog!
As one of the leading patient payment technology companies, we’re focused on identifying emerging trends in the healthcare market and determining the most effective operational process improvements for increasing patient payments. And we want to share these insights with you. For our inaugural issue, we decided to jump headfirst into the major challenge faced by all healthcare providers, large and small.
Why Don’t Patients Pay Their Healthcare Bills?
- Look in the Mirror.
As Pogo famously said, “we have met the enemy and he is us.” We are all patients at one time or another. And almost all of us are lousy payers. Whenever I present publicly, I make that point abundantly clear by relating how I allowed a radiology bill to go unpaid for over 18 months. As I re-tell my own story, I always see members of the audience nodding their heads or silently mouthing “Me too.” A good way to start exploring this topic is to first ask yourself “What is the first thing I do when I get a medical bill?” I guarantee it will be insightful.
- Amount Due is Much Higher Than Expected.
Surprises in billing are almost never good but providing patients with accurate estimates of their out-of-pocket responsibility before adjudication is difficult to say the least. So difficult it is often not even attempted. Deciphering different insurance plans and coverage levels is a great “use case” for artificial intelligence. Humans on the other hand, have not proven to have the desire or proficiency to be very good at it. No matter what, the final bill is always higher than the estimate.
- Bill Arrived Before the EOB.
It is no surprise that a patient distrusts the first bill if they have yet to receive the explanation of benefits. A very common reaction is “I’ll just wait until the EOB arrives and then confirm this really is the amount due — and pay it then.”
- EOB Arrived Before My Bill (But I Don’t Understand It).
Most EOBs are very hard to decipher unless you are a lover of the Rubik’s Cube. They are either too cryptic or overly general. Sometimes you must read three or four EOBs to understand a single bill. And what’s with the use of footnote-like codes such as 1) We didn’t pay this charge (and we are not telling you why) or 2) This charge was reimbursed a long time ago (but we’re not telling you when)?
- Just Don’t Have the Money.
You’ve probably all heard the statistic that most American households are not able to pay an unexpected $600 monthly expense. Healthcare bills very often exceed this threshold resulting in patients putting the bill at the bottom of the pile.
- No Convenient Way to Pay.
It’s 2019. Licking envelopes and affixing stamps already seems a quaint notion. Today, it suddenly feels like a lot of effort to write a check (or worse, fill in a credit card number on a paper form), then find an envelope and stamp, and then put it in the mail. I can pay for my latte at Starbucks and deposit checks in my bank account with my phone. Surely, there is a faster and better way to pay my doctor’s bills (for those of us that want to pay!).
Although there are many reasons that patients don’t pay, there are also effective solutions and strategies that can be employed to achieve significant improvements. AxiaMed partners with some of the largest and most innovative companies offering EHR/practice management systems, revenue cycle management applications, and patient engagement solutions. We regularly collaborate to develop strategies and workflows that encourage timely patient payments. We will be happy to share our successes with you — just subscribe to this blog and stay tuned!