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Study Shows Price Transparency Dramatically Increases Patient Payments

Healthcare providers that are more up front about their pricing are more likely to collect on what they are owed, according to data that was released (https://finance.yahoo.com/news/price-transparency-self-options-benefit-120010664.html) in late June by TransUnion, which looked at patient visits during the early months of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States.

Providers that were more transparent about how much things cost were able to collect 42% more at the point of service, according to TransUnion, which used data from VisitPay in conducting its analysis.

That data point should be an eye-opener for any healthcare provider that is not already providing pricing information when a patient walks through the door. Knowing how much something will cost makes that person more likely to make a payment right then and there, which, to healthcare providers, is the best-case scenario. That is money that does not have to be collected after a visit. That is money that opens the door to more payments being made in the future. And that is money that is collected without having to spend any time or expense to collect it.

A separate survey from TransUnion revealed that 24% of individuals said they would be “very likely” to pay a bill prior to care if an estimate was provided before or at the time of service, and 65% said they would make at least a partial payment (https://content.transunion.com/v/patient-financial-experience-infographic?utm_campaign=pr-tuhc-visitpay-pfe-pr&utm_content=infographic&utm_medium=press-release&utm_source=press-release&utmsource=press-release). Those are statistics that should not be ignored.

While a significant number of people were more likely to make a payment if they were informed about the price of a procedure or visit beforehand, the daily total patient payment volume declined by 47% between mid-March and mid-May, according to TransUnion. That trend will likely continue to worsen given the continued growth of the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases across the country during the summer months.

The decline in total patient payment volume is a huge concern for healthcare providers, but knowing that being more transparent about pricing can get money coming in from patients sooner should be an optimistic silver lining to providers across the country.

There may be a reluctance on the part of healthcare providers to not have awkward conversations about money at the time of service. But employees at healthcare facilities are trained to ask for co-payments before a patient walks in to see a doctor. And, calling someone after the fact to collect on an unpaid balance can be awkward in and of itself. So why not have the awkward conversation sooner, when it appears individuals are more likely to make payments?

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