Survey: 75% of provider organizations offer a cost estimate upon request, yet less than 25% of patients request one

Patients and providers think differently when it comes to healthcare billing and payments, according to a national Navicure survey.

The survey was conducted by HIMSS Analytics, a global healthcare IT market intelligence, research and standards organization, and fielded in January 2017. The research was deployed as a combination of two quantitative surveys. Nearly half (45 percent) of patient survey respondents had an annual household income of less than $61,000, 62 percent were 35 to 74 years old and 36 percent were millennials. Seventy-five percent of provider survey respondents were physicians or other healthcare providers, 12 percent were practice administrators and 8 percent were C-suite executives.

Here are four survey findings.

1. The survey found a vast majority of provider organizations (75 percent) said they could provide a cost estimate upon request, yet less than 25 percent of patients requested one on their last visit, according to a news release.

2. Navicure said 51 percent of providers claim it takes an average patient more than three months to pay their full balance. However, only 18 percent of patients claim it took them longer than three months to pay their last balance.

3. The survey found credit card-on-file is patients' preferred payment method for charges of $200 or less, according to the release. Additional patient preferences are patient portal (18 percent), provider website (16 percent) and automated payment plans (9 percent).

4. Providers view CCOF as the best way to improve patient collections, Navicure said. Twenty percent view CCOF as the best way to reduce cost of collections (22 percent prefer online bill pay), 20 percent view CCOF as the best way to reduce patient days in accounts receivable, and 29 percent view CCOF as the best way to reduce bad debt and write-offs. Despite broad patient acceptance of CCOF (78 percent), only 20 percent of providers currently utilize CCOF today.

"Our study indicates strong patient interest in more convenient ways to understand and pay their bills. Ironically, patient demand is ahead of current hospital and practice adoption," Jim Denny, founder, president and CEO of Navicure, said in the release. "A new generation of tools are available to improve patient satisfaction and allow healthcare organizations to collect more, faster and at less cost."


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