BUSINESS: Research + Stats Consumers Are Confused by Health Care Bills, Survey Says By Staff Thursday, March 30, 2023 12:12 AM Over half of consumers (54 percent) experience pain points for services and items related to health care, according to a recent survey. Further highlighting the need for a more seamless experience overall, 21 percent reported having difficulty with the payment process, and nearly as many had difficulty understanding their bills and keeping track of their credentials. Online portals may be useful in that respect, with 25 percent of consumers holding an account with one reporting the platform helped make it easier to access account information. PYMNTS’ latest collaboration with Lynx, “The Digital Platform Promise: How Patients Want to Streamline Healthcare Payments,” focuses on digital platforms’ role in the payment of health care products and services. Research found that 29 percent of consumers used a digital portal at least once to pay a medical bill in the past year, and one-quarter of those who used a digital portal to pay during that period said it is their preferred way to pay. The research also showed that 21 percent of those surveyed said they had difficulty navigating the health care-related payment process, while 18 percent stated that they had difficulty understanding medical bills. Another 17 percent indicated that they had difficulty keeping track of online accounts and login credentials and 16 percent found that their health care insurance covered less than expected. Still 9 percent of those surveyed said they had issues with HSA/FSA/HRA/MSP and another nine percent indicated that they had concerns about the security of personal or financial information. Six percent said that their preferred payment method was unavailable. One solution that could empower bill-paying patients and possibly raise the chances of on-time payments may be found in taking a cue from the banking sector, according to the report. Namely, offering educational tips or pointers through a health care company’s digital portal to send consumers their bills to clarify the process. A connection has been made between basic financial literacy, which hovers at 4 percent in the U.S., and younger generations relying on digital tools supplied by financial institutions. This kind of education may assist banks by cementing customer loyalty towards an institution regarded as trustworthy. It stands to reason this loyalty may extend to other billing entities as well. Consumer education by health care billers may be as simple as an optional walkthrough of a bill’s components explaining charges and other details, according to the research.