Why Millennials May Not Be Paying Their Hospital Bills

I recently went to the doctor's office for my health and wellness check. It was going on 3 years without a routine check up so I knew it was time to give a call and go in for the dreaded check-up. Like most Americans, going to the doctors is not on my list of favorite 'things to do' but it's important to take care of yourself! As I approached the counter and gave the receptionist my insurance card, I waited for her to ask me for the co-pay as they have done so many times in the past. She didn't ask, and told me to go to the fourth floor and sit in the "M" section. I sat down for only a few moments before having my name called. The check up wasn't as painful as I thought it would be, and I was out in a short amount of time. I thought on my way out "that was a great experience, no co-pay, everything checked out normal, and I'm out at a reasonable time!"

A few weeks had passed and I stopped over my father's home for a short amount of time. We caught up, had dinner, gave him a kiss and said goodbye. I had a foot out the door, when he shouted, "Oh, I almost forgot, there is mail for you here." You're probably wondering why I have my mail sent to my father's home, and to answer that question, I live in an apartment and I want to ensure that all my important mail from over the years goes to a secure and trusted location. I have moved several times in my college career and kept my 'current address' my father's house. To my surprise, it was a 3 week old medical bill from my check up. Since the receptionist didn't ask for a co-pay, I thought my visit was covered. I was confused by the charges, but luckily the statement had very detailed description lines. I work at a company that serves in this industry and handles patient statements, so it was exciting to see a statement in color, that was detailed, and easy to understand! Friendly patient billing!

My father should have given me a call, but let's be realistic... people forget, they lose things, someone picks it up and misplaces it. As a millennial, I prefer to receive and pay my bills online. As millennials are digital natives and are accustomed to living their lives on mobile devices, accessing online and social networks, it's important to reach them in a manner they can't ignore. Even a simple text message would be effective.

Part of producing better care at a reduced cost is using mobile and computer technologies, where consumers can quickly review their bills and pay them – in a similar way that they can pay electric or internet bills, or shop for products online. This gives your staff more time to focus on the care of the patient. A survey found that millennials would prefer to use mobile and digital options for purchasing online and using mobile apps to manage and pay bills. They also want to be told what a medical service will cost them before they agree to pay it. A recent report revealed consumers are frustrated by how the health care system still largely relies on paper and telephone calls for billing and payment (Leonard). Millions of medical bills and letters are sent through the postal service, and consumers reply with payments through the mail. As discussed in an earlier blog, printing and mailing statements isn't "dead" but if you don't use other methods, your business/facility is missing out on an opportunity to engage patients in other ways.

Additional Source: Leonard, Kimberly. "White House Kicks Off Health Care Reimbursement Project." US News. U.S.News & World Report, 25 Mar. 2015. Web. 01 Mar. 2016.