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Solution Perspective: Efficient Patient Financing Enrollment


Business Challenge

Patient financing programs are vital, and hospitals, healthcare systems, and physician practices are striving to expand them. To be most effective, these programs must offer not only multiple payment options, but also a truly efficient and consumer-friendly process.

Enrollment is a central element in financing workflows. This Solution Perspective examines key issues that arise in enrollment and details how CommerceHealthcare® provides customers with a highly streamlined approach.

Key Issues

Financing programs require flexibility to meet an array of patient needs. Affordability of care remains a central concern for many. Over one in four Americans say that healthcare costs strain their finances, and 23% state that insurance fails to cover their care.1 A significant percentage of employees are enrolled in High Deductible Health Plans. Individuals working for smaller firms often lack employer coverage altogether, as only half of companies in the 3–49 employee range offer health benefits.2

Addressing this complexity entails transformation of patient financing enrollment processes from their traditional time-consuming, labor-intensive, forms-based model. Optimal enrollment requires three essential characteristics: speed, consistency, and certainty. Without these, several significant problems arise for patients and providers alike:

  • Confusion and anxiety. Cumbersome processes and sometimes inconsistently applied policies can leave patients uncertain and anxious about the outcome.
  • Potential care deferral. Absent rapid clarity on financing availability, many may abandon or delay the care process. A Harris Poll found 40% of respondents naming cost as the primary reason for delaying or avoiding care during the period from 2021 through early 2023.3
  • Revenue leakage. Procedure avoidance engenders lost revenue, a critical issue as healthcare organizations seek to address industry financial pressures and ignite long-term growth.
  • Added costs. Enrollment inefficiencies burden staff with manual processes and create significant direct and indirect cost penalties.
  • Business continuity. In recent years, revenue cycle management (RCM) departments have reduced staff or adopted remote work policies, impacting efficiency and creating talent management challenges.

The CommerceHealthcare® Solution

There is urgency to create a simplified, efficient enrollment process that scales financing program growth and accommodates remote workflows.

Health Services Financing (HSF®) from CommerceHealthcare® enables providers to offer patients a no or low interest line of credit with enrollment that fully overcomes the concerns identified. The HSF® approach blends automation and human touch to optimize onboarding and servicing (Figure 1):

  • Multi-modal interaction to maximize convenience. HSF® supports enrollment online, by phone, or in-person.
  • Cross-continuum opportunities. Enrollment can take place during pre-service based on cost estimates, at point of care, or post-service during the billing process.
  • Simple, fast, frictionless process. The financing program features automatic approval with no credit check or costly paper-based workflow. A simple verbal or electronic commitment confirms enrollment. The result is a “no hassle” patient experience.
  • System integration and single-partner enrollment. Peak efficiency is further bolstered by integration with an organization’s patient management and revenue cycle systems. Staff are also supported by Commerce’s dedicated, in-house teams. There is no third-party involvement.

Streamlined Enrollment Process

Line of Credit process

Figure 1 text-friendly version[PDF]

The Many Advantages of Seamless Enrollment

Optimized enrollment delivers strong benefits for all parties:

  • Clarity and peace of mind. Patients rapidly obtain affordable and clearly-defined payment plans. With uncertainty lifted, they are free to focus on care, not financial decisions.
  • Maximum access. Enrollment ease helps providers deter revenue leakage from deferred care, attract new patients, and fulfill strong industry goals to expand healthcare access and equity.
  • Cost savings. Streamlined enrollment reduces labor and other costs while simultaneously boosting cash flow.
  • Patient satisfaction and engagement. Easy onboarding leads to better patient experience, crucial as organizations seek to be more customer-centric to promote value-based care strategies and respond to the growing cadre of retail health competitors. Research shows that the desire to excel at customer experience is a strong motivator for provider digital and other investments.4
  • Support for remote staff work via an efficient and contactless process.

Conclusion

Enrollment plays a critical role in the patient financing equation. The HSF® solutions deliver greater process efficiency, benefiting both patients and providers.

CommerceHealthcare® solutions are provided by Commerce Bank..

Disclosures:

  1. The Harris Poll and American Academy of Physician Associates, The Patient Experience: Perspectives on Today’s Healthcare, May 20, 2023.
  2. KFF, 2023 Employer Health Benefits Survey, October 18, 2023.
  3. The Harris Poll and American Academy of Physician Associates, The Patient Experience: Perspectives on Today’s Healthcare, May 20, 2023.
  4. Gartner, “Webinar: The 2024 Gartner Predictions: Healthcare & Life Science Risks and Opportunities,” December 19, 2023.