Survey reveals 1 in 3 consumers would put off COVID medical care to avoid bills
BOISE, Idaho—December 16, 2020—VisitPay, the leader in patient financial engagement, is today announcing the results of a new survey that reveals the state of consumer stress and financial behavior in the wake of COVID.
Economic fallout from COVID continues, with most consumers (61%) saying this recession has had a more negative impact on their family than that of 2008, and with COVID having the greatest impact (66%) on personal finances compared to other common life expenses.
Further exacerbating both financial and health stresses is a source of frustration directly related to both: paying for medical bills. Most Americans (60%) report medical bills as a top source of stress. Yet the survey reveals a discrepancy between the stress Americans feel from medical bills and their priority to pay them. While medical bills land at No. 2 (behind only credit cards) when ranked among other common bills as a source of stress, they take the bottom spot for priority to pay in a given month.
Common medical billing pain points may be the reason medical bills top the stress list but fall to the bottom of the payment list (behind credit, phone, internet, and cable bills). Top frustrations include: surprise costs (31%), confusion on how much insurance is paying (20%) and unclear charges and dates (18%). Over one-third (37%) end up funding medical bills with credit cards, and, of these, three-quarters finance them via credit for multiple months, compounding health costs over time.
“Medical bills are a reality for almost every American, yet they continue to serve as sources of stress that many of us try to avoid — whether by not seeking medical care in the first place, or by ignoring the bills once they come in,” said VisitPay Co-Founder and CEO Kent Ivanoff. “The key truth for providers is the need to focus on the patient financial experience from beginning to end, with transparency and ease of access to guide patients through the billing process with compassion and tailored payment alternatives that fit their needs.”
Finally, the survey suggests that medical bills may be such a source of stress that many are prioritizing their financial health over their physical health. An alarming 35% of people say they would consider putting off treatment for COVID to avoid medical bills; 39% are more worried about dealing with the financial burdens of the sickness than contracting it in the first place.
In its ongoing quest to be at the forefront of consumer financial behavior analysis, VisitPay commissioned Researchscape to conduct this research. The data above is from an online survey fielded November 10-13, 2020 to U.S. adults. It garnered 1,661 respondents. Results were weighted to be representative of the overall U.S. adult population.
Founded in 2010, VisitPay is the leader in patient financial engagement. The company’s third-generation cloud-based platform is used by the nation’s largest and most innovative health systems to deliver transparency, choice, and control to patients managing healthcare payments and transactions. Through VisitPay, patients can access a comprehensive accounting of their financial obligations, as well as critical health plan and healthcare information, via a health system-branded portal. VisitPay’s proprietary analytics tailor consistent and fully compliant financing options that meet the unique needs of patients and their families, creating a simplified billing experience that drives both higher payment rates and improved patient satisfaction scores. VisitPay’s investors include Norwest Venture Partners, Flare Capital Partners, and Ascension Ventures.
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