Annual report shows that financial barriers, such as cost concerns, confusing medical bills and more, erode patient trust in health systems and prevent patients from accessing care.

Patientco, a Best in KLAS, next-generation patient financial engagement platform, announced results from its 2021 State of the Patient Financial Experience survey report. The report, which reflects survey responses from more than 3,000 patients and nearly 50 healthcare providers across the U.S., reveals more patients skipped recommended healthcare treatment because of cost concerns over the past year than fear of COVID-19.

Key findings from our patient experience survey report include:

  • Concerns about out-of-pocket costs are the #1 reason patients skip or delay recommended healthcare treatment. Nearly 1-in-3 patients has avoided care because they were worried about what they would owe.
  • Affordability matters for high-income patients, too. 85% of patients with household incomes greater than $175,000 are less likely to defer care when flexible payment options are available.
  • Nearly half of patients need financial assistance for bills over $500. 45% of patients would need financial assistance for bills that exceed $500; 66% for patients with bills that exceed $1000.
  • For more than half of patients, medical bills are confusing and a conventional explanation of benefits (EOB) is not always helpful. Most patients have struggled to understand their medical bills and what they owed; these findings are consistent across income levels, age groups and education. An explanation of benefits (EOB) is designed to give patients clarity, but nearly 2-in-3 patients said that their EOB either did not make sense, took a long time to get, or they didn’t know what to do with the information.
  • Providers remain laser-focused on getting patients back in for care after COVID-19. 64% of providers cited getting patients back in after COVID-19 is top priority, followed by solving for price transparency, which 51% of providers cited.

“Since the start of the pandemic, healthcare has been under constant pressure to adapt in order to keep their communities safe and healthy – whether that’s through expanding telehealth or swiftly rolling out vaccine programs,” said Bird Blitch, CEO and co-founder of Patientco. “As our annual patient experience survey report shows, we can’t let the positive progress revert to the status quo as the threat of COVID-19 is contained. We must look critically at the systems we have in place to ensure patients are no longer hesitant to receive care – whether due to COVID-19 or cost concerns – to ensure entire communities can thrive and reach their full health potential while our health systems stay funded. In this scenario, everyone wins.”

Review our complete patient experience survey report here to learn more about what it will take for health systems to rebuild trust with patients and remove barriers to seeking care.