If your healthcare organization is making more refunds to patients, you are not alone.
The combination of higher patient obligations for healthcare and increasingly complex healthcare billing models has caused a spike in the volume of refunds healthcare providers make to patients.
The total amount of refunds that providers issue to their privately insured patients is anticipated to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 4.9 percent through 2022, Aite Group reports. Aite Group expects providers to make an estimated $3.1 billion in refunds to patients in 2022.
Patient refunds are a major headache for healthcare providers:
Hospitals and healthcare providers make matters worse by refunding money to patients via paper check. Compared to electronic payments, checks cost more and cause more escheatment.
Patient disbursements lag other markets in the disbursement of electronic funds, as non-electronic disbursements represented 83 percent of the total refund payments volume in 2018, per Aite Group’s report, U.S. Patient Refunds: A Market Sizing. In 2018, 74 percent of the total refunds payment volume was disbursed by check, a figure that Aite Group predicts will increase through 2022.
In an age when patients have been conditioned to expect hassle-free digital experiences, making refunds with checks also can frustrate patients and result in more inbound customer service calls.
Healthcare organizations blame their antiquated approach to making refunds on several factors:
While healthcare providers are keen on reducing the volume of refunds that they make to patients, the industry is unlikely to eliminate them. The tremendous growth of high deductible health plans (HDHPs) requires healthcare providers to estimate a patient’s financial obligation, which tends to be an inexact affair.
Changes in patient coverage and overpayments by customers also increase the possibility of refunds. That means hospitals and other healthcare providers must find ways to pay out refunds more efficiently, while providing an optimal experience for patients who receive them.
That’s where an omni-channel payment platform comes in.
An omni-channel payment platform optimizes the patient refund process in four important ways:
Making patient refunds using an omni-channel platform delivers big benefits to healthcare providers:
An omni-channel payment platform enables healthcare providers to make refunds using the payment method that a patient prefers, whether it’s with a reloadable card, virtual card, non-reloadable card, direct deposit, same-day ACH, instant payment or Zelle. And accelerating the patient refund process with an omni-channel platform reduces the number of call center inquiries that providers receive from patients regarding the status of refunds.
Staff and patients can instantly access information on refunds through a simple search. The platform can prevent the possibility of patients receiving a larger refund than they are entitled to. And electronic payments are less likely to escheat and create downstream headaches.
An omni-channel platform makes patient refunds less costly, less burdensome and less risky.
There is no end in sight to patient refunds. But that doesn’t mean that hospitals and other healthcare providers must be saddled with an inefficient and risky process. Making patient refunds with an omni-channel payment platform provides healthcare organizations with compelling benefits.
Ready to improve your patient refund process? Contact Transcard to learn how we can help.
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