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Poor billing options cost billions in wasted healthcare dollars, study finds

InstaMed shows healthcare providers must give consumers more online and mobile choices for paying their bills while protecting patient data.

Susan Morse, Senior Editor

InstaMed shows healthcare providers must give consumers more online and mobile choices for paying their bills while protecting patient data.InstaMed shows healthcare providers must give consumers more online and mobile choices for paying their bills while protecting patient data.

More than 30 percent of the estimated $5 trillion a year in healthcare payments in the United States is wasted due to inefficient payment processing and costs associated with paper-based billing and administrative tasks, according to a new trends report by InstaMed, a vendor offering a healthcare payment platform.

The survey results from over 100,000 healthcare organizations shows healthcare providers must give consumers more online and mobile choices for paying their bills while protecting patient data.

[Also: Out-of-pocket healthcare expenses ballooning in 2015]

Ninety-three percent of consumers want to pay their bills online, according to the report. However, by 2015, it is estimated that 50 percent of healthcare organizations will have experienced one to five cyberattacks.

Providers must also provide price transparency to address the more than 17 million consumers enrolled in a high-deductible health plan, and others who are paying a large portion of their bill out-of-pocket. The number of direct payments from consumers has risen 193 percent since 2011, the report states.

[Also: Disruptor tells employers not to pay]

Nearly 20 percent of consumers have unpaid healthcare bills. Thirty nine percent of providers, and 63 percent of consumers said they didn’t know the patient payment responsibility during a visit. Seventy-five percent of providers said it takes more than one billing statement to collect a consumer payment; seven in 10 said it took more than one month to collect on a bill.

[Also: Medical billing confusion makes shopping for cheaper CT scans difficult]

The U.S. healthcare payment market is expected to reach an estimated $5 trillion by 2022, according to InstaMed.

InstaMed derived data from over 100,000 healthcare providers nationwide comprised of 69 percent medical practices or clinics; 4 percent durable medical equipment; five percent billing services; four percent hospitals; and 18 percent other providers, including ambulatory surgery centers and physical therapy organizations.

Twitter: @SusanMorseHFN