Now that patients are shouldering more of the healthcare costs for their services, they are getting more selective about what health plans and providers they choose. Health plans and providers know they need to focus on delivering satisfying experiences, which today are overwhelmingly influenced by the payments experience.
Here are three reasons why health plans and providers need to implement electronic payment solutions:
1) Consumers Expect Digital Payment Options
Mobile and online technologies have created a culture in which consumers want immediate gratification. As the adoption of real-time payment systems has exploded, so, too, has the use of mobile phones. Today, 87% of Americans have one, and 77% of those are smart phones.1 A new payment standard has emerged among consumers who expect to be able to make payments wherever they are at any time. When it comes to managing finances:
- Consumers have come to expect faster settlement periods, notifications and consolidated reporting regarding their payment transactions.2
- More than half of smartphone owners with a bank account are using mobile banking and receiving text messages, push notifications or email notifications from their bank.3
Consumers understandably will be looking for those same convenient services from their health plans and providers, which includes the ease and flexibility of being able to make their health premium or patient responsibility payments online.
2) Online and Mobile Banking Exploding
PwC conducted a survey of 4,000 consumers in 2017, which revealed that 46% of consumers are only using digital channels for banking, such as mobile phones, PCs and tablets. PwC coined the phrase “omni-digital” to describe this rising population of consumers who want easy-to-use, relevant products and to be reached “when and where they are receptive.4
Black Book Market Research conducted focused polls of both patients and providers in 2017, revealing that 95% of consumers would pay their premiums and provider costs online if offered5, yet only 20% of provider financial administrators are currently ready to offer electronic payment options.6
The discovery of the omni-digitals, a group that does not even include those consumers who use both digital and offline channels for banking, indicates what consumers are looking for in their overall payment experiences. Of course, this includes their healthcare bills as well.
3) Satisfying Payment Experiences Important to Customers
Black Book’s survey also showed that 85% of healthcare consumers want a patient-centered financial experience.7 They want help understanding their portion of the costs. They want transparency with their health plans and providers, and, most of all, they want easy, flexible online and phone-based payment options to suit their individual needs.
As an example of how important mobile and online accessibility has become to consumers, just look at companies like Starbucks, Amazon and Uber. They have experienced huge success by creating mobile apps that are:
- Easy to use,
- Offer digital payment options, and
- Facilitate interactions with the company when consumers want to be contacted.
The success of the Starbucks mobile app is a testament to how much consumers want an easy seamless experience. Roughly a third of Starbucks’ payment transactions flow through its simple mobile app, while the more complex Apply Pay app only processes 5% of its total payment transactions.8 Starbucks has determined that its mobile app users spend three times more than the average Starbucks customer.9
Amazon’s one-click payment method played a big role in its success online. Uber built its $60 billion company on a simple mobile app that enabled customers to hail a cab and select a preferred payment option that would be charged at the end of the cab ride.
These successes demonstrate the power that flexible payment options, ease of use and convenience can have on customer choices and whether they decide to keep coming back.
Something for health plans and providers to think about as they consider ways to improve consumer experiences so they can survive in an increasingly competitive healthcare landscape.
Payspan Can Help You Start That Journey
Payspan offers a Premium Payments Solution for health plans and Online Bill Pay for providers. Learn more about how Payspan can help health plans and providers develop electronic payment solutions that improve customer satisfaction and lead to retention and loyalty by visiting:
1,3Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, “Consumers and Mobile Financial Services,” 2016
2Deloitte, “Real-time payments are changing the reality of payments,” 2015
4PwC, “(Don’t) take it to the bank: What customers want in the digital age,” May 2017
5-7Healthcare Finance, “As Patient Responsibility Jumps 29%, Providers to Focus on Patient-Centric Payment Solutions,” Oct. 25, 2017
8Barron’s, “Starbucks Teaches Silicon Valley a Lesson in Tech,” Aug. 19, 2017
9Harvard Business School, “Starbucks’ Mobile App: A Winner in Bridging the Retail/Digital Divide,” Jan. 21, 2018