Millennials Want to Pay Healthcare Bills: Providers Must Meet Them Where They (Already) Pay

Some Millennials have difficulty paying medical bills, which means providers should take a look at switching up the medical practice’s revenue cycle management workflow, and understanding how and where Millennials pay other bills—it’s online, naturally—and then replicate those methods in the provider environment.

Providers who adopt the payment methods used by top online retailers will be the winners when it comes to collecting payment from Millennials.

Set Payment Expectations

Millennials anticipate paying for a variety of goods and services at the time of purchase, which helps providers who want to reimagine their business by expecting and collecting payment at the time of service. The difference between buying a high-tech gadget from an online retailer and receiving medical care is that the financial exchange for the gadget happens instantaneously online, which diverges dramatically from the mailing of paper bills.

Providers who think they’ve solved the immediate-payment conundrum because they take credit cards at the front desk need to re-examine their strategy. Accepting credit cards is well and good for other patients, not Millennials. The problem is that 67 percent of Millennials don’t use them.

Receiving payment from Millennials quickly can be difficult or near impossible, even though the group has good intentions. A majority of Millennials, 71 percent, say they would pay medical bills in full if they had the money, but 35 percent admit they don’t budget for medical or healthcare expenses.

The lack of a budget, of course, leads to healthcare providers who don’t get paid in full. In 2016, Millennials topped the list of generations who don’t pay medical bills in full:
  • 74 percent: Millennials;
  • 68 percent: Gen X; and
  • 60 percent: Baby Boomers.
For success with Millennials, providers must ensure their business is operationally ready to become part of the online payment ecosystem. Providers can accomplish this is by offering online payment options, which has more to do with acknowledging that business success in the 21st century has more to do with engaging consumers on their terms than trying to stay ahead of technology. Although providers may not be ready to implement online payment technologies, the reality is that many of their customers have been using the technology for years.

Online payment options are no longer optional: They’re mandatory. For those who remain unconvinced, here are a couple more reasons why it’s so important: Three Tips to Help Millennials Pay Healthcare Bills

Getting paid by Millennials depends on customizing bill-paying options and making it as easy, simple and fast as possible to send payment.

These three steps can help providers move in the right direction while encouraging Millennials to pay for treatment more quickly:
  1. Provide medical treatment payment information early and often using workflow tools available in revenue cycle management solutions.
  2. Offer multiple online payment options. In general, millennials don’t use credit cards, but frequently use online payment options, which allow quick, on-the-spot reimbursement.
  3. Deliver bills and follow-up information using Internet-based forms and reports. This group expects information online—not on paper—and have a high degree of experience and comfort with technology.
More than ever, consumers of all types are exerting control over the purchasing experience whether it’s paying online for a craft beer, a high-def TV or healthcare services. Medical practices that acknowledge the healthcare consumer’s power in payment preference, and respond appropriately, have a better chance receiving timely payment.

Providers who create and implement a payment strategy aligned with online retailers—where payment is online and instantaneous—likely will have a better chance of collecting before the money is spent elsewhere.
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