Patients Seek Affordable Healthcare Financing

Healthcare is a big-ticket expense that requires long-term financing, according to 91% of patients/consumers responding to the ClearBalance Healthcare Consumerism study.

Now in its second year, the Healthcare Consumerism study measures awareness, satisfaction and loyalty with the ClearBalance consumer-friendly loan program. It also measures patients’ use of the program and quantifies their perceptions of healthcare providers that offer affordable financing for medical care.

“Healthcare often is a large, unexpected expense,” says Bruce Haupt, president and CEO of ClearBalance. “Some patients use their entire savings to pay their medical bills, or worse, declare bankruptcy. The ClearBalance program is a better option. Patients can afford to repay their portion of care and often are more loyal to the health system that offers our program.”

Increasingly, patients are demonstrating their judgment and satisfaction rating of their healthcare organization by the amount of repeat business and referrals they bring, according to a press release from ClearBalance announcing the study results. Nearly all (97%) of the survey respondents say a healthcare provider that offers the ClearBalance program is providing a community benefit. Ninety percent of respondents will return to the healthcare provider that offers a ClearBalance loan program and 88% would recommend the healthcare provider to friends and family. According to the Advisory Board Company, patients who return to a healthcare organization within 18 months generate six times more revenue for that provider.

Nearly three-quarters (72%) of respondents depend on their employer-provided insurance to help cover medical costs. In his healthcare blog, Drew Altman, president of the Kaiser Family Foundation has noted, “A surprising percentage of people with private insurance … simply do not have the resources to pay their deductibles.”

The 2016 Healthcare Consumerism survey was completed by more than 2,700 participants in August.

Key findings include:

  • The patient’s portion of healthcare costs continues to be a concern for many consumers
    • Cost is a factor when selecting a physician (79% say yes) and a healthcare provider (81% say yes)
    • Healthcare is an expense that requires financing of more than 12 months (91% say yes)
    • One out of every three consumers will delay care if a loan program isn’t available

“The findings from this study support what we see day in and day out: There is absolutely a demand for affordable healthcare financing,” Haupt says. “The quality of care a patient receives is expected to be high, but now what is also expected is a way to make that care affordable.”

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