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As ‘Envelope in the Mail’ Approach to Billing Falls Short, Healthcare Organizations May Find Transparency at Point of Service is Best Option

Two in three healthcare executives recently stated in a survey that they need to focus their revenue cycle management on patient estimation/point-of-service collections and patient collections in the back office. Yet, only five percent of respondents indicated that price transparency was an area of focus. The results come from a TransUnion Healthcare (NYSE:TRU) survey of 106 healthcare executives, but do not reflect the reality that more patients are seeking transparency.

In fact, a recent TransUnion consumer survey found seven in 10 patients were confused or surprised by the amount they had to pay when they received their final healthcare bill. These findings and more will be highlighted in the “Leveraging Technology for Financial Patient Engagement” presentation at the 2017 HIMSS Conference & Exhibition on Feb. 22.

Jonathan Wiik, principal for revenue cycle management at TransUnion Healthcare
Patients are shouldering more of the burden of healthcare costs and becoming the new payer. TransUnion data show that patient payment responsibility grew 30% between 2014 and 2016. Patients are surprised by bills because deductibles and out-of-pocket costs have increased at an unprecedented rate. Hospitals and providers are acquiring more bad debt as patients face bills they cannot pay. Revenue cycle managers have an opportunity to become more consumer-friendly throughout the billing process. As patients seek more transparency, an envelope in the mail will always fall short.
Jonathan Wiik, principal for revenue cycle management at TransUnion Healthcare

Only two in 10 patients (22%) had a clear understanding of how much their healthcare insurance plan would cover before they received treatment, according to TransUnion’s survey. Patient confusion comes at a time when patients were responsible for 30% of healthcare costs in 2016, compared to 10% of costs in 2002*.

“While efficient back office collections is important for hospitals, they can reduce collections by mitigating confusion and stress about bills,” added Wiik. “A transparent billing process will ultimately lead to more point-of-service collections and a reduction in back office collections. Hospitals must adjust their strategies as it becomes significantly more expensive to collect from individual patients instead of commercial payers. Using analytics and patient financial clearance, hospitals can create a more efficient and effective way to collect more upfront.”

TransUnion Healthcare provides revenue cycle management (RCM) solutions to hospitals and healthcare systems to help optimize the consumer reimbursement process and reduce uncompensated care. On the front-end, ClearIQ enables providers to improve the patient access experience and maximize staff efficiency. On the back-end, TransUnion’s Insurance Discovery solutions recovers reimbursements from third-party payers for acute and ambulatory providers.

For more information on TransUnion’s suite of solutions, please visit TransUnion at HIMSS17 at Booth 372 or visit

*Source: Medical Group Management Association, InstaMed

About TransUnion HealthcareTransUnion Healthcare, a wholly owned subsidiary of credit and information management company TransUnion, is a trusted provider of revenue cycle management solutions for maximizing reimbursement, improving patient engagement, and ultimately increasing the effectiveness of the healthcare system. We deliver this by leveraging our data assets, market-leading revenue cycle management technologies, and deep insights into consumer financial behavior, to help providers reduce uncompensated care and improve cash flow with one of the most patient-centric revenue cycle management systems on the market today.

About TransUnion (NYSE:TRU)

Information is a powerful thing. At TransUnion, we realize that. We are dedicated to finding innovative ways information can be used to help individuals make better and smarter decisions. We help uncover unique stories, trends and insights behind each data point, using historical information as well as alternative data sources. This allows a variety of markets and businesses to better manage risk and consumers to better manage their credit, personal information and identity. Today, TransUnion has a global presence in more than 30 countries and a leading presence in several international markets across North America, Africa, Latin America and Asia. Through the power of information, TransUnion is working to build stronger economies and families and safer communities worldwide.

We call this Information for GoodSM