Anticipating treatment costs

A recent survey conducted by global business intelligence firm ORC International and commissioned by HealthFirst Financial, a national patient financing company, has found that many healthcare providers are not meeting consumers’ need to know costs before treatment.

More than three-quarters (77 per cent) of healthcare consumers believe it is important or very important to know their costs before treatment, while 53 per cent want to discuss financing options before care. However, most healthcare providers aren’t satisfying these consumer demands.

More than half (57 per cent) of patients said that it’s important or very important that their healthcare provider offer ways to extend payments over time with no interest charged, yet only eight per cent received zero- or low-interest financing from a healthcare provider.

“These findings highlight a huge gap in what patients want and what hospitals, medical groups and other healthcare providers are delivering,” said KaLynn Gates, president and corporate counsel of HealthFirst Financial. “Providers that care for the financial as well as clinical needs of their communities are much more likely to thrive in this era of rising out-of-pocket costs and growing competition for patients among traditional and non-traditional providers.”

According to Gates, the survey was commissioned to learn more about how consumers are coping with their medical expenses and it was found that consumers are likely to delay care or switch providers to find financial help if they are not provided with viable options, which could damage providers. She believes providers need to develop a strategy to meet the needs of consumers.