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Revenue Cycle Management

Online bill payment 2.0

Personalized online solutions can increase payments by 350 percent or more. By Mark Snow


he United States Supreme Court’s June decision to uphold the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) creates unprecedented challenges for the health-

care industry. Fortunately, a new patient payment solution is demonstrating its worth by helping healthcare providers accelerate payments and increase collections. One of the most significant changes for which the health- care industry must prepare as the result of PPACA is the addition of approximately 30 million uninsured Americans to healthcare insurance rolls in 2014. This means that more patients will receive healthcare services, and hundreds of millions of patient payment transactions will be added to the U.S. healthcare system.

These added burdens will compound the challenges facing healthcare providers already stressed by the steady increase in patient bad debt in recent years. According to the global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, providers wrote off an astonishing $65 billion in patient bad debt in 2010. And according to Fitch Ratings, a leading international ratings agency, the high levels of uncompensated care for hospitals did not abate in 2011, driven by elevated unem- ployment, more uninsured patients and increasing patient responsibility for healthcare costs.

In response to these challenges to their ongoing busi- ness viability, many providers have implemented new, more efficient payment models that enable patients to utilize a payment method with which they increasingly say they are comfortable: online payments.

The digital shift: Personalization achieves 350 percent increase in payments In its 2011 Consumer Trends Survey, Fiserv Inc., a global financial services technology provider, found the following evidence of an evolving consumer comfort level in conducting financial transactions digitally: • Online bill payments now account for 50 percent of all bill payment volume, compared to 23 percent for check payments.

18 October 2012

• From January 2010 to July 2011, the number of households paying bills directly at company websites and at financial institution websites in- creased by 11 percent each.

Mark Snow is a vice president at Revspring. For more on Revspring (formerly PSC Info Group): www.rsleads. com/210ht-213

• The use of mobile banking services for bill payments and money transfers is growing rapidly. In 2011, 40 percent of mobile banking users paid a bill using their mobile phone as compared to 28 percent in 2010. Thirty-two percent used their mobile phone to transfer money versus 25 percent in 2010.

Many providers have implemented new, more efficient payment models that enable patients to utilize a payment method with which they increasingly say they are comfortable: online payments.

A few years ago, many healthcare providers began to use electronic bill presentment and payment solutions – or e-billing and e-payment. Even providers that were hesitant about offering patients this option to pay their bills were soon won over by its convenience and ease of use. In our experience, e-billing and e-payment users can increase patient collections by a minimum of 20 percent. Many users reduce bad debt by 50 percent while reducing reconciliation costs by as much as 40 percent. When e-billing and e-payment are holistically integrated into a provider’s overall collections process, patient collections can increase by as much as 200 percent. And electronic billing and payment means no paper, no postage, no waste.

Another new online payment solution – personalized online payment – is providing stunning results for healthcare providers: In one study, more than 350 percent more pay-


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