Survey examines causes, solutions for frustrations over health care costs.
Medical bills are confusing to patients, but there are ways to clarify costs of health care.
A new survey by automation and artificial intelligence developer AKASA found 38% of patients said their medical bills were somewhat confusing or extremely confusing. Another 37% of patients said they were neutral, while 14% said they leaned toward medical bills not being confusing, and 11% said medical bills were not confusing at all.
“These results show that medical billing is still a black box to patients,” Amy Raymond, AKASA vice president of revenue cycle operations, said in a news release. “The onus is on health care organizations – both providers and insurers – to make medical billing less painful for patients, who may fear going into debt and avoid seeking out care.”
The online survey sought responses from 2,026 patients in March 2022, and they ranked their greatest frustrations “about the financial experience after seeking medical care:”
“The rise of high-deductible health plans, the uncertainty of what’s being billed, the complexities of in- and out-of-network charges, and how much patients are on the hook for makes understanding and managing medical bills challenging for many families,” Raymond said. “Additionally, as errors in medical bills persist, patients should be diligent in reviewing their bills to ensure they’re getting an accurate bill. I strongly encourage individuals to ask questions of their providers or insurance company before paying a bill.”
Based on the survey, patients agreed with some methods that doctors or insurers could use to clarify the expenses:
However, 24% said none of those methods would help. Raymond suggested automation as a “critical tool” for save time for revenue cycle specialists who can become patient advocates and offer financial counseling.