The Broken Billing Process
In order for healthcare “consumer” to be an accurate title, we’re assuming goods and services within healthcare are, in fact, being consumed. And an integral part of being a consumer is payment. From the barter system to the gold standard, in order to receive a good or service, something has to be given in return. But with healthcare, it’s not as simple as ...
“I’ll give you a goat if you remove my appendix.”
Instead, the process of paying for care is riddled with confusion from the start. Consumers have no indication what care will cost them, what insurance will cover, or when they’ll get a bill.
Even more frustrating, when the consumer actually attempts to pay, they’ll be greeted by friction. For example, a visit to the emergency room that indicates an immediate appendectomy may result in six bills: one from the hospital, one from the ED physician, one from the radiologist, one from the laboratory, one from the anesthesiologist, and one from the surgeon. Patients then need to compare those bills to their explanation of benefits to understand who and how much to pay, and must do so across several different platforms, each with an unfamiliar interface.
The more likely reality is an unsuccessful attempt to review the bill. The bill is labeled “junk mail” for months at the consumer’s risk of being sent to collections. The consumer is left feeling void of respect and compassion, while trying to simply recover. Sound familiar?
3 out of 10 conusmers report having been sent to collections due to unpaid medical bills1
21% of those consumers simply lost track of the bill1
1 "Sick of Confusing Medical Bills?" Consumer Reports, 2018