Patient Experience

Empowering patients in a time of crisis

February 1, 2021 10:20 pm

There’s no doubt the pandemic has dramatically altered the business of healthcare. Hospitals and health systems nationwide have continued to rack up staggering financial losses throughout 2020, directly related to COVID-19 and a shutdown of non-emergency surgical procedures for a period of time.

American consumers haven’t fared any better. According to an October 2020 study by The Commonwealth Fund,1 approximately
14.6 million individuals and their dependents lost employer-sponsored health insurance by mid-year 2020. Although there now is light at the end of the tunnel with vaccines and treatment, clearly it will take time for Americans to recover financially. In light of these challenges to their communities, healthcare providers have opted to alter their approach to patient collections, specifically looking for solutions to make out-of-pocket costs affordable by allowing payment plans.

Healthcare organizations are expanding patient payment methods due to COVID-19

  • 52.6are offering more payment alternatives
  • 52.2offering more online self-service options

On the whole, healthcare organizations are working to provide more technology-driven, compassionate and non-contact payment options and methods. These are helpful to preserve patient and staff safety and recognize the challenging financial circumstances that many patients face.

Payment plans are a key area of focus

When hospital and health system leaders were asked what tactics were the most crucial in maximizing patient out-of-pocket financial responsibility, a few options stood out: allow payment plans, provide better upfront estimates and increase payment education.

To achieve the appropriate balance of patient experience and securing payments, we think offering payment installment options is a good approach. It’s important to keep the patient paying something, even if it’s a small amount.”

RCM Leader

Why are new payment strategies so important?

Although there are many reasons to expand payment strategies, healthcare leaders surveyed believe the most important reasons are to:

  1. Recognize financial hardship and demonstrate compassion
  2. Educate patients
  3. Improve the likelihood to pay

More than 1 in 4 respondents (27.4%) indicate that the reasons behind expanding their strategies have to do with recognizing patients’ financial hardship and demonstrating compassion, illustrating a desire to empower patients during this difficult time.

About the survey

  • Conducted online survey September 2020
  • 117 HFMA members responded to the survey
  • Revenue cycle management, patient financial services, patient access and operational leaders participated in the survey
  • Hospitals, health systems, other providers were among those represented in the survey

About ClearBalance HealthCare

ClearBalance HealthCare® has been helping people when it matters most, providing affordable patient financing solutions since 1992. ClearBalance stands apart as the #1 customer-rated patient financing solution, according to Black Book Market Research and KLAS Research. We are at the forefront of patient pay management, always setting and delivering a high bar for patient financing solutions, patient reimbursement, revenue cycle IT expertise and the consumer experience. The ClearBalance program features the only HFMA Peer Reviewed ROI Value Model™, which identifies a providers’ cost to collect patient pay and sets nationally recognized benchmarks for a long-term financing alternative. For more information, go to

This published piece is provided solely for informational purposes. The statements and opinions by participants are those of the participants and not those of HFMA. References to commercial manufacturers, vendors, products, or services that may appear do not constitute endorsements by HFMA.


a Frostin, P., Woodbury, S.A., How Many Americans Have Lost Jobs with Employer Health Coverage During the Pandemic? The Commonwealth Fund, Oct. 7, 2020.


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