Amazon Halo’s Effect On Healthcare Payments - pymnts.com

Amazon Halo’s Effect On Healthcare Payments - pymnts.com


Amazon Halo’s Effect On Healthcare Payments - pymnts.com

Posted: 08 Oct 2020 01:00 AM PDT

The consumerization of payments continues. And it may be enough to fix what ails healthcare.

In an interview with Karen Webster, John Talaga, executive vice president and general manager, healthcare at Flywire, said healthcare firms are getting creative with the ways they grapple with collecting on what patients owe — and closing revenue and cash flow gaps.

The conversation took place amid a backdrop where as recently as April, Talaga told Webster as the pandemic started to really take root that at least some of Flywire's healthcare clients were projecting a 30 percent revenue shortfall this year.

Turns out those projections were a bit pessimistic.

"Everyone looks at the base case and the worst case, and we certainly didn't hit the worst case for most of the big systems," noted Talaga. "Volumes went down. But what's happening now is there is a rebound cause even as [the virus] is still going on."

Indeed, economies are opening a bit, and some individuals are returning to providers to make sure they take care of appointments and care that had been scheduled or pushed out. Maybe a bit.

But then again, the root problems in healthcare remain. Talaga noted that we still have a health system in which patients are, increasingly, on the hook for a significant share of healthcare costs — as much as 30 percent at present.

But along with low volumes that have been the hallmark of the past few months, Talaga said there has been a lingering impact from the lag time of payments from insurance companies and patients.

The deficit for primary care practices stands at about $15 billion, as consumers inch back toward at least some semblance of normalcy when it comes to healthcare, at least for preventative care.

The pandemic, then, has been spurring healthcare providers to be motivated to change — to approach their patients with personalized payment plans, revamped billing practices — and a renewed effort to understand what's affordable.

"It's about being able to identify what patient's financial capacity to pay and being able to tailor those engagement interactions and communications to the patient."

That means considering payment plans or "intelligent discounts" that will help keep patients on track to get the care they need.

Those flexible payment options are best extended at what Talaga termed the point of commerce — not necessarily the point of service or pre-service. Simply offering a range of payment options can be an influencer in getting patients to purchase and use what's on offer — in this case, healthcare. Flexible payment options may also encourage users to embrace additional procedures and services and add it to the rolling tally, paid down over time, in a way that engenders loyalty.

"When you're admitted to the hospital for a procedure, you have an estimate of what that's going to cost," he said. "And yet there may be things that happen that require additional treatments or specialist store. There are platforms that are emerging that provide these marketplaces that offer subscription services and purchasing of … things like MRIs and testing. There are doctors with a flat rate price point [to] provide transparency and affordability."

The greenfield opportunity is there as a full 70 percent of hospitals, he estimated, have yet to embrace payment plan options that are fully and digitally enabled, mired as they are in paper checks. Data exchange and back-end systems, along with reconciliation processes, also must be improved.

Nonetheless, he maintained, "We're seeing a huge demand for — and more of a sensitivity than there was before, along with a greater sense of urgency — for these hospitals to figure out how they're digitizing their experience," he said.

The Consumerization and Digitalization of Healthcare

The customers themselves have been increasingly comfortable with the great digital shift in healthcare — as evidence, look at the growth in telehealth and the Halo health and wellness wearable unveiled by Amazon.

For individuals, "it's not just brick and mortar anymore, and therefore they want everything to be more digital," he said.

It will take some time for hospitals to catch up, he said. But marquee names such as Apple and Amazon have entered the fray.

The growth in wearables, maintained Talaga, can be likened to an emerging lifestyle category — where, for example, a pacemaker helps maintain heart health once a patient leaves the hospital. There's a net financial impact here, too. The more an individual stays out of a doctor or hospital setting, the more affordable healthcare becomes.

There's fragmentation in the market too as 40 percent of millennials do not have a primary care physician. Walmart has full-service clinics on site with a range of typical medical services. The transformation of healthcare, he said, is moving to a new model where hospitals are being viewed as centers for more acute care situations. Marketplace models, such as Sesame, profiled by PYMNTS last month, are offering healthcare-as-a-product that turns medical care into a good/service that can be browsed, mulled and purchased.

"You're never going to replace direct interaction between a doctor and a patient," said Talaga. You can't. But having that care be more decentralized," through online channels and wearables, "to lower the amount of expense that goes into the hospital is very beneficial."

——————————

PYMNTS TV LIVE OCTOBER SERIES: B2B PAYMENTS 2021 – WHAT WILL YOU CHANGE? 

Banks, corporates and even regulators now recognize the imperative to modernize — not just digitize —the infrastructures and workflows that move money and data between businesses domestically and cross-border. Together with Visa, PYMNTS invites you to a month-long series of livestreamed programs on these issues as they reshape B2B payments. Masters of modernization share insights and answer questions during a mix of intimate fireside chats and vibrant virtual roundtables.

SMBs Play Waiting Game As Capitol Hill Wavers On Stimulus - pymnts.com

Posted: 07 Oct 2020 10:24 PM PDT

In the tilt-a-whirl that is Washington, D.C. right now, the wildest go-rounds are centered on stimulus payments.

Will they? Won't they? How much are we talking about? $1.4 trillion, or more like $2 trillion? Or somewhere in between? Or more?

President Trump, as of Wednesday, was pushing for lawmakers to pass piecemeal relief/stimulus that would include, among other things, direct payments for individuals. Democrats, by way of contrast, have been angling for a package deal.

We'll leave the inside baseball for others, in terms of handicapping politics. What remains to be seen is what incremental, or wholesale, new stimulus rounds may be slated for small businesses. Trump's own recent tweetstorm makes mention of $135 billion to the Paycheck Protection Program for smaller firms.

As the economy shows new signs of slowing, and job gains are facing some recent headwinds, recent PYMNTS research underscores the ways in which aid might be of immediate use.

We've noted there have been some green shoots among the companies we've surveyed in recent months that are representative of the small- to medium-sized business (SMBs) that power roughly two-thirds of the U.S. economy.

Drilling down a bit, fortunes have improved a bit — at least mindsets have.  In a survey across more than 1,100 respondents, 38 percent said their financial stability had remained unchanged, 17 percent said things had improved.

But though the overall picture may be decent, the outlook is decidedly mixed, drilling down into individual segments.  At left you'll see how sentiment has changed from surveys taken in April when the pandemic really took root, and August. Amid the companies that defined themselves most at risk in the pandemic — of closing, that is — most segments felt a bit more sanguine. Yet professional services stayed pretty much the same.  We'll note that this may be bit of an ominous sign, as so much of the economy is services-oriented.

But the stage is being set, at least in part, for (additional, significant) stimulus to be on offer to companies.

As PYMNTS reported earlier this week,  Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome H. Powell said in remarks made to the National Association for Business Economics that economic support should be seriously considered, sooner rather than later.

"Too little support would lead to a weak recovery, creating unnecessary hardship for households and businesses," Powell said, adding, "over time, household insolvencies and business bankruptcies would rise, harming the productive capacity of the economy and holding back wage growth." He added that "by contrast, the risks of overdoing it seem, for now, to be smaller."

Whether it all should be done via PPP (which as has been widely reported targets SMBs), remains a matter of debate.

But time is of the essence.  We found that consumers expect it will take about a year for the economy to recover, SMBs a bit less. The expectations have steadily extended into increasingly longer timeframes, which may mean that we'll see a tightening of purse strings and wallets. That would be rough on SMBs, especially, of course, who employ a significant number of workers across the U.S. (and give them the wages that are then pumped back into the economy.

At right, you can see the elongating trend.

For the firms surveyed by PYMNTS in recent months, the loans have had relatively few takers, as PYMNTS has found. Looking at the impact of the pandemic at the six-month mark, we found that through the spring, the share of SMBs that had taken the plunge to apply for SBA loans stood at about 33 percent (this includes all SBA loans).

This next go-round on the Hill may be critical, and for SMBs, may (or may not) offer up a financial bridge needed to get to the next stage of the journey through the pandemic.

——————————

PYMNTS TV LIVE OCTOBER SERIES: B2B PAYMENTS 2021 – WHAT WILL YOU CHANGE? 

Banks, corporates and even regulators now recognize the imperative to modernize — not just digitize —the infrastructures and workflows that move money and data between businesses domestically and cross-border. Together with Visa, PYMNTS invites you to a month-long series of livestreamed programs on these issues as they reshape B2B payments. Masters of modernization share insights and answer questions during a mix of intimate fireside chats and vibrant virtual roundtables.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Window for Small Businesses to Apply for PPP Funding Closes Saturday - Bay News 9

List of Easy Approval Net 30 Accounts for 2020 - Nav

This new business index offers a more accurate way to forecast recessions - MIT Sloan News