The results of a recent survey commissioned by AccessOne, which focused on healthcare affordability and the impact of rising costs of living, revealed that the majority (71%) of consumers feel that inflation is having a significant effect on their healthcare purchasing decisions or their ability to pay medical bills.1
In the survey, which was conducted by Big Village from December 2 to 4, 2022, more than 1000 individuals were asked about their purchasing decisions and payment behavior—including for healthcare—in the upcoming year.
Key takeaways from the survey results included the following:
- Consumers appear to be losing confidence in their ability to pay for healthcare. According to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey, almost 10% of individuals owe at least $250 in medical expenses.2 However, 43% of the respondents in the AccessOne survey said that a bill of $249 is the maximum they felt they could manage with confidence.
- Approximately 1 in 4 respondents said that providers make it difficult for consumers to pay their medical bills. Approximately 50% said that when text is offered as an option for payment, they pay their bills in 6 days or less.
- More than 80% of consumers said that the availability of affordable, long-term payment plans would make a difference in whether they chose to seek care, with 65% indicating it would make “a lot” or “somewhat” of a difference. Who provides the financing did not appear to be an issue, as 55% of consumers said they would be comfortable working with a financial company to find an affordable payment plan for their medical bills, although only 3% are already doing so. In addition, 47% of respondents said they would switch providers for affordable, long-term payment, and 12% said they have done so in the past.
- More than 50% of consumers said they will not pay their bill immediately if they fear they cannot afford it. The population groups most likely to postpone medical bill payment when they fear they cannot afford the expense were Gen Xers (67%) and families with children (61%).
- Approximately 1 in 2 (47%) respondents said that they expected to delay care to avoid the cost in 2023. This included more than 50% of Millennials, Gen Xers, Black Americans, Latin Americans, and families with children. Some of the ways they planned to delay care included postponing preventative physician appointments, such as annual checkup (25%); delaying filling a prescription or choosing not to fill a prescription at all (18%); and postponing necessary care or procedures or deciding not to pursue needed care at all (27%).
The report suggested that hospitals concerned about the impact of changes in consumer purchasing behavior on their bottom line in 2023 should consider taking action to relieve the financial stress of care.
“During a period of high inflation and volatile credit markets, a health system’s ability to offer flexible and inclusive payment options for consumers will be vital to patient retention and growth,” said Mark Spinner, President and Chief Executive Office, AccessOne, in a statement. “Simplifying patient financial communications and offering multiple options for payment—including long-term payment for those with limited access to traditional credit—are key to supporting a healthcare provider’s financial stability.”
The complete AccessOne report can be found at https://info.accessonepay.com/consumer-survey-report.
- AccessOne. 2022 consumer survey. February 22, 2023. https://info.accessonepay.com/consumer-survey-report. Accessed April 7, 2023.
- Palosky C. 1 in 10 adults owe medical debt, with millions owing more than $10,000. March 10, 2022. www.kff.org/health-costs/press-release/1-in-10-adults-owe-medical-debt-with-millions-owing-more-than-10000/. Accessed April 7, 2023.