This April, as the coronavirus pandemic began to impact us all, Patientco ran our annual survey of more than 2,000 patients and 50 providers to better understand the healthcare financial experience. Our previous survey reports have revealed patient expectations for more digital communication and online payment options from providers, alongside concerns about affordability and the lack of upfront pricing in healthcare. 

What’s the state of the patient financial experience in 2020?

This year’s survey results highlight that the coronavirus pandemic has amplified patients’ existing concerns. Patients continue to be concerned or frustrated by out-of pocket costs, surprise billing, price transparency and more. Now more than ever, patients want financial care that is compassionate.

Today’s blog will offer a sneak peek of our full survey report, which you can download here.

3 Patient Expectations Providers Should Prioritize Now

1. Affordable payment options

Across all demographics, patients expect affordable payment options from their healthcare provider. In fact, 26% of patients are willing to switch providers to access more affordable payment options, even if it is inconvenient. Younger patients, between the ages of 26-44 are even more likely to switch, as 37% are willing to change providers.

Providers that address patient expectations for more flexible payment options can build trust and maintain patient loyalty. The economic impact of coronavirus makes this especially important now. At the time of our survey, more than a quarter of patients had lost their job or income due to COVID-19. Patients between the ages of 26-44 saw the biggest hit to their income. Of patients in this age group, 30% lost their job or had their hours cut. 

2. Upfront pricing

When paying for healthcare, 42% of patients are most frustrated by a lack of upfront pricing. While pre-service price estimates could solve this, most providers currently limit estimates to certain procedures.

Still, meeting patient expectations for upfront pricing information is in everyone’s best interests. Our survey revealed that nearly half of patients have avoided necessary medical care because they were concerned about costs and for 25% of patients, their condition worsened as a result. Upfront price estimates can help address patients’ cost concerns earlier. This helps prevent skipped or delayed care, as 70% of patients reported their price estimate influenced their decision to move forward with treatment.

3. Clearer billing communication

Patient expectations for clear billing communication remain largely unmet, as 37% of patients have been confused by the medical billing terms on their statement. Receiving too many bills for one visit is another source of confusion for patients. Nearly 1 in 3 patients have felt confused or frustrated after receiving multiple bills for a single visit.

Meanwhile, questions from patients who are confused about their charges is the top contributor to patient call volume, according to our past survey reports. In this year’s survey, nearly 1 in 5 providers said high patient call volume is the biggest pain point for their revenue cycle teams. 

Want more insights on patient expectations in 2020? 

Be sure to register for our HFMA webinar on July 23 at 1 p.m. ET to learn how you can transform your patient financial experience based on these exclusive survey insights.