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Hospitals see challenges around price transparency, technology and resources

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Experian Health Chief Commercial Officer Jason Considine said price transparency and regulations surrounding the No Surprises Act were among the topics discussed at the Healthcare Financial Management Association’s annual conference in Denver last week.

Both rules are creating challenges, he said.

“With the No Surprises Act, there’s a lot of work to be done to provide accurate patient estimates,” Considine said.

Starting this past January, the No Surprises Act protects uninsured or self-paying individuals from unexpectedly high medical bills.

Providers are also expected to provide insured persons with a good faith estimate to determine a future date.

Obtaining these estimates includes information about the patient’s benefits and insurance plan to create an accurate estimate, Considine said.

Price transparency requires hospitals to provide clear, accessible price estimates online for at least 300 different shopping services. Hospitals may face civil monetary penalties for noncompliance.

According to a recent KLAS survey of 66 revenue cycle leaders, hospitals are concerned about significant challenges surrounding deployment, particularly the resources required. Hospitals are turning to third-party solution providers, including Experian Health, Vitalware and EnThrive, the KLAS report said.

Spending on technology is expected to increase as regulations expand on top of mind for more provider organizations, Considine said.

Experian recently looked at what consumers want when it comes to price transparency and payment and found that 21% prefer a digital experience.

According to Considine, the survey confirmed what he and others had already thought.

Twenty-one percent said they interact with digital technology, but reported difficulty getting accurate cost estimates for appointments.

Twenty-seven percent would use digital wallets to pay their healthcare providers if the option was available.

Currently, the most common way for patients to pay is while they’re in the office, Considine said. But at least a quarter prefer to pay online, which makes providers pay faster. Getting paid online also reduces the cost of collection.

“The more money we raise up front, the less statements we send out,” Considine said. “And you get a better financial experience.”

Some customers prefer to pay bills after hours and others may qualify for financial assistance.

“Providers have to find the right economic way,” he said. “It takes leveraging data to know the right financial experience.”

Twitter: @SusanJMorse
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