Consumer survey reveals that 65% of Americans over the age of 54 have paid healthcare bills online in previous year
Nashville, TN, November 16, 2021 — As consumers grow increasingly comfortable with using online tools to manage activities as disparate as dinner reservations, banking and hairstyling appointments, a new consumer survey reveals that even older Americans are embracing online technologies to manage their healthcare and medical expenses.
In a recent consumer survey sponsored by Sphere, a vertically integrated software and payments technology company, 83% of all respondents said they had paid a healthcare bill via an online payment method at least once in the last year. Consumers’ enthusiasm for online healthcare payment tools was consistent across age groups, with nearly two-thirds (65%) of individuals 55 years old and older and 85% of those aged 25 to 40 having paid their medical bills via their providers’ websites or patient portals.
Additionally, 82.5% of all patients say that the ability to pay medical bills online makes their lives easier, and only 7% find online bill payment more challenging than other options. Despite strong preferences for online bill payment options that span all age groups, many providers have yet to recognize this shift, as 89% of patients still report receiving paper billing statements.
“This survey demonstrates that offering online medical bill payment tools has become table stakes for providers as these intuitive, secure and seamless solutions have become widely adopted by American consumers of all ages,” said Raj Voddiraju, Founder and Group President of Health iPASS, a Sphere company. “Providers who serve older patient populations must account for this evolution in consumer behavior by delivering convenient online options that improve the experience at every step of the patient journey, including patient-self-scheduling capabilities for appointments, automated appointment reminders, online pre-service check-in and post-visit payment plan options, transparency into cost of care, digital in-clinic experience and post-visit bill pay options including text-to-pay, email-to-pay and payment plan options. Providers can reap the rewards of a digital transformation that boosts efficiency and profitability, but they must first invest in the right technology.”
The survey also revealed patients’ willingness to embrace appointment check-in via mobile devices and kiosks, finding that 86% of patients had used at least one of those methods in the previous year. Digital pre-service check-ins represent an efficient process that saves time for both patients and providers by removing the need to fill out paper forms or confirm information with staff. Providers gain the ability to increase patient volume, enabling them to boost revenues by seeing more patients in the same amount of time.
Further, the survey showed that providers are using a variety of channels to contact patients, including email, mail and text messages, although patients reported that phone calls remain the primary way (77% of respondents) that providers contact them.
“In recent years we have observed a transformation in our patients, who now demand an experience from their healthcare providers that more closely mirrors what they have come to expect from online retailers and service providers,” said Mujtaba Akther, Practice Administrator for Curewell Medical. “Our partnership with Sphere’s patient engagement technology Health iPASS has enabled us to quickly respond to these shifting consumer expectations, helping enhance patient engagement while also increasing staff efficiency and reducing operational overhead.”
Respondents to the random, online survey of 200 U.S. consumers sponsored by Sphere were 57% male and 43% female. The largest age group represented was between 35 and 44 years old (42.5%), followed by 25-34 (30.5%) and 18-24 (10.5%).
Sphere is a cloud-based, vertically integrated software and payments technology company serving a variety of complex end markets with an established market leading presence in the healthcare and non-profit sectors. While Sphere was founded in 2017, we offer strategic benefits to our partners and customers of three businesses that have been established for over 20 years.
Sphere is trusted by more than a third of the 100 largest health systems in the US and thousands of independent medical providers across the country to facilitate and drive secure payments by being highly integrated into our clients’ workflows, patient billing systems, and electronic health records. Our integrated software and payments suite helps organizations increase payment collection while delivering best in class security, compliance instruments, and a single payment stack standardized for reporting and reconciliation. Sphere provides fundraising software solutions and tools to 5,000 nonprofits in the US and Canada.
Our sub brands include:
TrustCommerce, the leading healthcare gateway and merchant processing provider with native EHR integrations at large integrated delivery networks (IDNs) and acute care facilities.
Health iPASS, a fully integrated suite of patient engagement software solutions to streamline the patient experience while driving patient payment yield.
Qgiv, a leading digital fundraising platform offering nonprofits a platform designed to increase online donations and payments.