The current consumer payment experience in healthcare is unpleasant, to say the least. A patient contemplating a routine surgery is hard-pressed to find straightforward information about different providers and what they charge for procedures, making the decision-making process stressful and confusing.
Once they’ve had the surgery, they might receive three different statements about what their insurance covers and what they owe, adding another layer of aggravation and worry on top of the healing process.
Consumers endure this confusing scenario all the time, and they deserve better, says Bill Dulin, vice president of global business development at Discover® Global Network.
“Right now, [the healthcare payments ecosystem] is highly fragmented,” Dulin says. “It’s archaic, with a lot of paper-based activity, and information—or lack of information—coming from multiple sources.”
According to Dulin, what patients need is a high-level integration of payment platforms and healthcare data. But it’s not as simple as banks and providers collaborating on more efficient systems. “A bank is never going to want to hold HIPAA information in the same way a healthcare provider is never going to want to be considered a bank holding company,” Dulin said. They’re entirely different types of organizations and neither wants to wade into the other’s industry and regulatory space, he emphasizes.
That’s why the path forward lies with payment facilitators. By combining cutting-edge technology and the data held by healthcare providers with the regulatory expertise of financial institutions, payment facilitators can drive better consumer experiences and achieve greater outcomes for their business partners.