Addressing Health Insurance Confusion to Improve the Patient Experience
Posted on Wednesday, August 23, 2017
Patients can become overwhelmed by health insurance.
Health insurance confusion is a major barrier to a good patient experience.
Hospitals are no strangers to the headaches that come with insurance reimbursement issues. Dealing with health insurance is hard enough for staff trained in the subject. Imagine the confusion your patients must face when they receive a medical bill or attempt to estimate what a medical service will cost them.
Unfortunately, health insurance illiteracy is becoming an increasing problem in our country; a 2013 American Institute of CPAs survey estimates that over half (51%) of U.S. adults cannot correctly identify at least one of three basic insurance terms (“premium,” “deductible,” and “copay”) and the U.S. Department of Education finds only 12% of adults proficiently health literate.
Addressing Health Insurance Confusion
Acknowledging health insurance confusion and making this aspect of a patient’s visit easier can improve the patient experience and has many advantages for your facility, too.
In fact, a recent study by Lavidge had consumers rank healthcare marketing phrases by preference, with the phrase “We will handle all insurance matters for you” coming in second place. If you can make and fulfill this claim, you’ll attract and keep more patients and increase patient satisfaction.
But don’t stop there; consider going a step further by helping your patients apply for financial assistance as well. Many patients are unaware of the programs available to them, or that they may qualify for assistance. Think of how much more you can improve the patient experience if you simplify insurance AND the financial assistance application process for your patients. (HealthWare’s ActiveASSIST is a great tool for managing and tracking the entire financial assistance process.)
Patient satisfaction is not all that’s at stake, however; health insurance confusion can also cause patients to avoid medical care in the first place or lead them into medical debt. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a major reason that 42.9 million Americans have unpaid medical bills is that they are confused about what they owe and why.
Alleviating patients’ health insurance confusion will vastly improve the patient experience at your facility, encourage patients to seek the care they need, and ultimately help you get paid.