Patients Seldom Request Health Care Cost Estimates

HealthDay News — Most provider organizations can offer a cost estimate, although few patients request one, according to a report published by Becker’s Hospital CFO.

HIMSS Analytics conducted a national Navicure survey to examine patient and provider understanding of health care billing and payments. Two quantitative surveys were combined: one involving patients and the other involving physicians or other health care providers, practice administrators, and C-suite executives. 

According to the survey, 75% of provider organizations could provide a cost estimate upon request, but less than 25% of patients requested one at their last visit. 

About half of providers (51%) claimed that it took an average patient more than 3 months to pay their full balance, while only 18% of patients claimed that it took longer than 3 months. 

For charges of $200 or less, patients’ preferred payment method was credit card on file (CCOF); patient portal, provider website, and automated payment plans were also preferred by patients (18%, 16%, and 9%, respectively). CCOF was seen as the best way for providers to improve patient collections, with 20% seeing CCOF as the best way to reduce the cost of collection. Seventy-eight percent of patients accepted CCOF, but only 20% of providers utilized CCOF.

“Our study indicates strong patient interest in more convenient ways to understand and pay their bills,” Jim Denny, founder, president, and CEO of Navicure, said in the article.

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Gooch K. Survey: 75% of provider organizations offer a cost estimate upon request, yet less than 25% of patients request one. Becker’s Hospital CFO. Published online February 17, 2017. Accessed March 8, 2017.