Healthcare Payments: Channeling Their Inner Online Banking

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What's Next In Payments®
8:14 AM EDT June 4th, 2014

The Affordable Care Act might have made health care easier on some levels, but it has made patient billing more complicated than ever. One provider has found a way to “trick the system” and actually enable online billing and payment just like consumers are accustomed to paying any other bill online.

That provider?  PatientPay. Company CEO Tom Furr sat down with MPD CEO Karen Webster earlier this week to discuss his organization and the long lasting, positive impact he hopes to have on the health care industry.

At its core, PatientPay software helps health care groups accelerate the collection of out-of-pocket expenses from patients. According to Furr, most health care providers use a practice management software for their billing process – which generates an entirely paper based bill 98 percent of the time. Instead, PatientPay instead steps in, and “tricks” the practice management system into not sending out a paper bill but digitizing on instead and sending it to patients through a more cost-effective mean – typically email.  Patients can then easily pay those bills online, just like any other bill payment that they make.

“We’ve gone to really extensive efforts to make sure this is a great user experience,” Furr said. “But it’s driven by the practice, because the practices are the ones that are most interested in making all of this stuff electronic because it reduces their cost to process these payments, which is extremely expensive.”

PatientPay does not sell directly to physician offices, but instead works with practice management systems that can then incorporate the software into their larger offerings.

A Win-Win Situation

According to Furr, sending out paper statements can get very expensive very quickly. He cited data from the Medical Group Manager’s Association (MGMA) that said that it generally takes 3.3 paper statements before an organization receives its payment.

“So not only are we helping to expedite the payments that are being made to practices, but more importantly we’re driving down the cost to do that,” Furr said.

From a patient’s perspective, Furr stated that PatientPay is designed to make their lives easier as well.

“Health care is driven to be more consumer payments, but also they’re going to have to be more consumer friendly,” Furr said. “So the patients understand what they’re paying and why they’re paying. That’s kind of what we’ve been on the forefront of.”

With PatientPay, individuals will receive a statement that matches up line for line with the insurance company’s explanation of benefits (EOB). Furr states that oftentimes, the EOB sent by an insurance company is different than what a provider might send – and this will confuse patients. However, through the digital options provided with PatientPay, consumers can read full explanations of why something occurred, and receive definitions when they drag their cursor over certain areas.

For example, Furr said that PatientPay will explain what a deductible is. Overall, PatientPay is designed to be much more user-friendly.

“Health care and financial services companies have to come to the support of these folks to enable them to get the health care they need while paying for it in a manner that enables them to do that,” the CEO explained. “We’re doing that from a payment plan perspective, and obviously we’re looking to offer credit potential capabilities as well.”

To listen to the entire discussion, please click here.

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