Slideshow 5 Reasons Insurers Should Make Healthcare Bill Paying Easier

  • June 07 2015, 10:51pm EDT
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5 Reasons Insurers Need to Make Consumer Bill Paying Easier

Bank websites offer consumers the opportunity to make all or most of their bill payments via a single secure online location. In healthcare, consumers don’t have that convenience, and many also can’t pay via their smartphones.

Claims clearinghouse InstaMed advocates that health plans should offer a single site for their members to pay all of their medical bills and, when applicable, their insurance premiums. The clearinghouse commissioned research and advisory firm Aite Group to examine the case for single-site payment. (Photo: Fotolia)

Goodbye Mail Payments

Aite Group, using results from a survey of 1,000 consumers that InstaMed commissioned Melior Group to conduct, concludes that consumers have found alternatives to mailing payments for their bills. Only 37 percent of payments were mailed in 2013, compared with 50 percent in 2010.

More consumers started enrolling to pay bills online. From 2010 to 2103, direct debit increased from 29 percent to 36 percent of healthcare payments, and online payments rose from 13 percent to 20 percent. Mobile payments, while increasingly popular now, totaled only 2 percent of healthcare payments in 2013. Aite Group offers five key findings from its study that insurers should consider to give healthcare consumers more payment convenience. (Photo: Fotolia)

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Finding 1: Consumer Experience Matters

More consumers indicate lower overall satisfaction with their healthcare experience (70 percent satisfied) than they do with their retail (e.g., Amazon, 82 percent satisfied) and shipping (e.g., FedEx, 81 percent satisfied) experiences. (Photo: Fotolia

Finding 2: Health Benefit Account Payments Solve Only Part of the Problem

Health saving accounts, health reimbursement accounts and flexible spending accounts usage is growing, but 87 percent of consumer medical out-of-pocket payments were made using payment types not associated with a health benefit account. (Photo: Fotolia)

Finding 3: Consumers Want More Convenience

Health plans are positioned to deliver greater member convenience; 78 percent of primary bill payers who bought coverage through their employer and 84 percent who bought from an exchange attest that paying all their medical bills on the health plan’s website is a service they want. (Photo: Fotolia)

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Finding 4: Payments are a Health Plan Differentiator

Consumer desire for a service that consolidates all their medical bill payments is strong, as 86 percent of exchange-oriented members much prefer plans offering this service over plans that do not, and 74 percent of consumers covered via their employers prefer the same. (Photo: Fotolia)

Finding 5: Payment Capabilities Require Security and Compliance Expertise

The Payment Card Industry Security Standard, HIPAA and federal money movement regulations are just some of the considerations for payment functionality implementation. Health plans need to understand the impact of security and compliance regulations on their build-vs.-buy decision.

Aite Group concludes that great rewards will go to insurers who considerably improve the consumer payment experience, including giving a bill with an explanation of benefits they can understand and trust enough to pay. Complete study results are here.