Experian study reveals that 98 percent of consumers worry about covering healthcare costs

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An 85-year-old man named Bob had a total knee replacement just this week to help him deal with pain he’d had for 60 years due to a college football injury. Bob has Medicare as well as a Medicare Part D supplement. One of his sons accompanied him on his visit to the surgeon. When Bob asked how much the knee replacement would cost, the surgeon told him not to worry, that his insurance would cover it. Later, at the hospital, during pre-admission testing, a second son decided they should speak with financial counselors to get some idea of the surgery’s cost. “Well, our codes don’t really match the codes at Medicare, so I can’t really give you a true cost. I can ballpark it for you,” said the financial counselor. She reached out to her manager, had about a 10-minute discussion and came back. “I think it’s going to be somewhere around $2,400,” she told Bob and his son. They asked if this was just for the hospital bill. “Oh yes,” came the answer. “We have no idea what the surgeon’s or the anesthesiologist’s bills will be.” Then when told that Bob had a Medicare supplement, he was told they wouldn’t even be able to provide information about the hospital’s bill before the surgery. “But we have financial programs available to help you after the fact,” said the registrar.

This is a major IDN that uses one of the top EHR systems in the country. And they couldn’t tell Bob or his son what the costs of his surgery would be.

Now Bob is a conscientious gentleman and doesn’t leave any bill unpaid. In fact, when he gave his wallet to his son for safekeeping just before surgery, he told him that he had a blank check in there to pay for the hospital bill upon his discharge. But the reality? He won’t find out the true cost for the many services surrounding his knee replacement until he gets the bills about 60 days later. And it won’t be just one bill. He’ll get a bill from the hospital. From the surgeon. From the anesthesiologist. From the lab. And the list goes on.

True story. Happened in Louisville, Kentucky, but could have happened anywhere in America, because it does. Every day.

As this 85-year-old man undergoes a painful recovery, he will also be worrying about his medical bills.

And he’s not alone. A recent health study by Experian, that included a survey of more than 1,000 U.S. healthcare consumers, revealed the breadth of financial issues for healthcare consumers. One of the biggies? Almost all of the respondents (98 percent) ranked concerns about being able to cover out-of-pocket costs as a “very” to “extremely” important pain point during their healthcare journey.[1] Let’s look at the statistics from the study: [2]

  • 33% of consumers said they worried about determining their out-of-pocket costs versus what their health plan covers
  • 32% said they used the internet of mobile apps in the last 12 months to shop around for care
  • 28% said they worried about being ble to pay for medical tests recommended by their provider
  • 90% significantly underestimated costs related to major medical procedures, such as a knee replacement
  • 98% ranked concerns about being able to cover out-of-pocket costs as a “very” to “extremely” important pain point during their healthcare journey.

Think for a moment, about the increased stress levels of people worrying about their out-of-pocket medical expenses, which in the Experian study, is almost 100% of people. The American Institute of Stress says that stress can cause numerous emotional and physical disorders “including depression, anxiety, heart attacks, stroke, hypertension, immune system disturbances that increase susceptibility to infections, a host of viral linked disorders ranging from the common cold and herpes to AIDS and certain cancers, as well as autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.”[3] And that is just the tip of the iceberg. The American Institute of Stress goes on to say: “In fact, it’s hard to think of any disease in which stress cannot play an aggravating role or any part of the body that is not affected.”[4]

We have spoken with many large corporations who are tired of seeing their employees suffer from the stress surrounding medical bills, and especially the fact that they can’t figure out what their bills are going to be beforehand. They have told us repeatedly that they don’t want their employees forced to deal with provider portals because portals don’t provide meaningful information. These portals are piecemeal at best and only give estimates. They are not providing the users a good experience. They are looking for the Amazon experience in healthcare.

HealthQRS has developed an entire, seamless platform that can fully and easily integrate into EHRs to provide the retail experience that these EHRs do not offer. (And it’s not a portal because employers don’t want their employees to be forced into portals.) Our solution provides people a full retail experience in healthcare just like they are used to receiving from Amazon for retail goods. Because we are integrated with your EHR, you get the full benefit of reporting analytics which will improve your meaningful use numbers and increase meaningful use funds. We also have a point-of-service application that allows your registrars and financial counselors to answer consumer’s questions about financial responsibility in person or over the phone.

We provide accurate, true pricing (not estimates) for the entire procedure. From their smartphones, consumers can search for services and procedures in their network, see true prices – not just estimates – schedule the service, search for discounts, pay for the service or set up payment plans, find transportation, receive appointment alerts, wellness alerts, and even see a doctor via telemedicine. You name it. We offer it. Our technology enables people to connect to more cost-effective, consumer-oriented healthcare options and we keep them in-network.

HealthQRS is the perfect vertical application for integrated delivery networks. We provide regulation compliance and serve as a marketing tool for your facilities. In addition, HealthQRS allows you to be compliant with the new CMS transparency rules beginning Jan. 1, 2019.

We are a software-as-a-service (SaaS), so you have no capital investment, just a low monthly fee. We also have a smartphone application that consumers can use to shop, see actual costs, schedule and pay for services with a few finger taps.

HealthQRS has over 15 years of experience developing healthcare retail experiences for people and our founders have over 50 combined years of e-commerce experience. We invite you to watch our user-friendly app video that you can use to win consumers. We also have a point-of-service solution video that may interest you. You can also check out our E-Commerce Medical Marketplace Flyer for more information. Why not contact us right now to schedule a personalized demo? Follow the money and it will lead you to consumers. We can help you help the Bobs of the world, win them and keep them.

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[1] Kelly Gooch, “Financing their healthcare a big pain for many consumers, survey finds,” Becker’s Hospital Review, Sept. 5, 2018, https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/finance/financing-their-healthcare-a-big-pain-for-many-consumers-survey-finds.html

[2] Gooch, “Financing” https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/finance/financing-their-healthcare-a-big-pain-for-many-consumers-survey-finds.html

[3] American Institute of Stress, https://www.stress.org/stress-effects/

[4] American Institute of Stress, https://www.stress.org/stress-effects/

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