Data Brief: 56 Pct Of Consumers Want Digital Payment Options For Healthcare

Despite many 21st century marvels on the treatment side, the business end of healthcare remains mired in paper invoicing and unpaid debt currently estimated in the $140 billion range. As doctors and dentists recover from a costly crisis, digital payments are helping them heal.

In the PYMNTS July 2021 Connected Healthcare: What Consumers Want From Their Healthcare Customer Experiences study, a collaboration with Rectangle Health, researchers surveyed over 2,260 consumers U.S. adults and found that digital healthcare management — and payment options particularly — can improve patients relationships while getting providers paid.

In this excerpt of that study, we examine interest in payment plans — the “care now, pay later” model — and find the idea very popular among younger digital-first cohorts, although patients from almost every age group and economic background desire these options.

“Most consumers — 56 percent — expressed significant interest in payment plans, and patients across all demographics report interest in covering bills that insurance will not pay for with affordable payments,” per the study. “The difference between the amount that would cause patients living paycheck to paycheck and those earning above $100,000 annually to seek out affordable installment payments for medical bills differed by less than $800.”

Connected Healthcare: What Consumers Want From Their Healthcare Customer Experiences continues, finding that “Younger patients show significantly greater interest in payment plans than older patients, and though interest in payment plans decreased slightly in the past year, younger consumers are becoming more interested in payment plans for typical visits. This group’s interest rose from 32 percent in 2020 to 40 percent in 2021.”

As the study notes, “The likelihood that Gen Z, millennial and bridge millennial patients would switch to providers that offer new digital healthcare management tools rose from 31 percent in 2020 to 35 percent in 2021.” This fact is creating a new urgency in the medical community to embrace convenient digital options — or risk losing younger patients to more digital doctors.