Sept. 18, 2016 — As the insurance landscape has changed, it’s clear that the patient/consumer focus has broadened from health and outcomes to money, as in, “What will I owe?” and “How will I pay for care?” In fact, out-of-pocket responsibility often is driving where and when – or sometimes if – patients receive care. Increasingly, consumers want, need and expect financing programs such as ClearBalance® to help them repay their costs.
ClearBalance recently conducted its second annual Healthcare Consumerism Study, and the findings are telling. The study measures satisfaction and loyalty of patients/consumers who use ClearBalance credit services. In addition, survey participants related their perceptions of healthcare providers that partner with ClearBalance to provide affordable financing options. The collected data serves as a performance gauge for the program itself as well as for employees of the Patient Experience Center in their interactions with patients.
A key finding in the study is that the patient’s portion of cost continues to be a concern for many. Ninety-one percent regard healthcare as a “big ticket” expense that requires financing or a type of payment plan of 12 months or more. Cost is increasingly a variable in the care selection process. Seventy-nine percent of respondents think about cost when choosing a physician and 81 percent think about cost when selecting a hospital/health system. If the ClearBalance program weren’t available to assist with their out-of-pocket responsibility, 34 percent of respondents said they would delay care.
Survey results show that ClearBalance is well-regarded by consumers using the loan program to repay medical expenses, and that goodwill extends to its healthcare provider partners. Indicating a high degree of loyalty and satisfaction, respondents are strong supporters of the program:
• 90 percent will likely return to a healthcare provider offering a ClearBalance loan program
• 88 percent would likely recommend that healthcare provider to friends/family
• 95 percent will use the program to help cover future medical costs
Patient satisfaction no longer is the sole responsibility of a clinical team. And care isn’t the only factor that determines satisfaction. As part of the overall financial experience, ClearBalance maintains an integral role with its healthcare provider partners to create a lasting, positive patient perception.
Read the Executive Brief.
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