10 things to know about 2016 healthcare consumer payment trends

Increasing patient financial responsibility means a growing portion of provider and payer revenue is tied to direct consumer payments — posing challenges and opportunities for healthcare organizations.

According to InstaMed's "Trends in Healthcare Payments Seventh Annual Report: 2016," consumers across generations are seeking convenience when paying their medical bills. The survey includes nationwide data from respondents representing more than 100,000 healthcare providers, more than 3,000 payers and more than 2,730 consumers.

Here are 10 study findings.

1. By 2019, consumer healthcare spending is estimated to grow to $608 billion.

2. InstaMed found the volume of consumer payments to providers increased 58 percent from 2013 to 2016.

3. The number of consumers insured through high-deductible health plans increased from 10 million in 2010 to 75 million in 2016, according to the report's findings.

4. HDHPs are only one factor contributing to a growth in patient financial responsibility. The average deductible for individuals with employer-based coverage doubled from $735 in 2010 to $1,478 in 2016.

5. Seventy-four percent of consumers said they were confused by their medical bills, and the same percentage said they were confused about their explanation of benefits.

6. The majority (86 percent) of consumers receive their medical bills in the mail. Twenty-six percent receive an emailed bill, while only 22 percent receive their bill at the point of service.

7. When tracked year over year, consumers across generations are showing increased interest in paying their medical bills online. The survey found 73 percent of consumers under age 40 preferred to pay their medical bills online, compared to 52 percent of consumers older than 40.

8. Sixty-one percent of healthcare consumers expressed interest in paying medical bills through mobile platforms like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay or Android Pay.

9. Seventy-three percent of providers said it takes more than a month to collect from patients.

10. Seventy-two percent of providers said their primary revenue cycle concern is patient receivables. As for payers, 40 percent of health plans said direct-to-consumer solutions were a top priority for 2017. 

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