The company hit the restart button in 2012 when it saw an opportunity to address the affordability gap in healthcare, as costs began started to shift from the payer to the consumer.
The burdens of rising out-of-pocket costs for patients, regardless of what type of health insurance coverage they have, is a challenge that millions of Americans face when dealing with health issues.
A 2020 report from the Commonwealth Fund found that 1% of Americans under age 64 spent $5,000 or more out of pocket for medical services, and 5% spent more than $1,700. Deductibles in employer-sponsored plans more than doubled in the decade from 2008 to 2017, federal data show.
That’s why CarePayment, a patient financing company that partners with providers to offer patients 0.00% APR financing, came about.
The company was founded in 2004, but hit the restart button in 2012, primarily because it saw an opportunity to address the affordability gap in healthcare, as costs began started to shift from the payer to the consumer. A Transunion study found that balances after insurance payments grew 52% from 2012 to 2017, and a third of hospitals have more than $10 million in bad debt.
“That increased the financial burden on the consumer/patient,” says Ed Caldwell, CarePayment’s CEO. “That manifests itself in two ways. One was patients who became saddled with medical bills they didn’t expect and can’t pay; the second was patients avoiding needed care due to the costs they couldn’t afford, which can result in a more catastrophic case somewhere down the road.”
Both outcomes were suboptimal for both the patient and provider, and coupled with the limited competition in the space, the CarePayment team felt it had a solution that far outpaced those of its competitors.
“We are the only player in the patient financing space that offers a zero percent interest program to the patient who asks for a long-term payment plan, and a pre-bad debt solution for those who are non-responsive to their provider’s attempt to collect an amount due after their care,” Caldwell says. “The end result of all of this is our ability to drive an unparalleled patient experience, along with a return on investment that’s really intently focused on collecting from patients who otherwise would have ended up in bad debt.”
Everyone qualifies, regardless of credit, and the company offers a white-glove approach to the patient collection process, which, along with the affordable payment options, creates an industry-leading and unique patient experience.
“We are so confident in our approach to the problem and the ROI we can drive for our provider clients, that we contractually guarantee a positive financial result,” Caldwell says.
The company primarily plays in the hospital space, with more than 90% of customers and clients coming from hospital or acute care. About 25% of the approximate 5,800 hospitals across the country that have formerly chosen a financing vendor that specializes in patient financing to help them solve the problem.
“Including us, there are really four major patient financing vendors, though some new competitors are making noise in the industry,” Caldwell says. “CarePayment is the largest of the four in terms of annual loans offered to patients.”
Transforming the Patient Experience Digitally
Today, there’s more of an opportunity to optimize the patient engagement and financial experience through digital means.
CarePayment is leading the effort on that front, with solutions now available through Epic’s App Orchard with MyChart integration, helping to digitally transform the patient experience, drive increased patient satisfaction and make things easy for hospital or health system staff.
The integration of MyChart offers a digital-first experience that allows a patient to see their balance in MyChart, inquire about long-term payment plan options with CarePayment, how to pay over time and view the monthly payment and term length if they choose the program. The patient is fully informed and can make a payment decision quickly and without staff intervention.
Yet, this is just one way the company is helping providers digitally transform the patient
experience, as not every patient is comfortable in a digital only environment. Seniors, who are high utilizers of healthcare, have told the company they want high touch but with human support when needed, including the ability to call CarePayment’s in-house customer support team with questions.
“You have to have a robust, comprehensive platform to meet patients where they are because healthcare consumers are incredibly diverse, and their engagement and payment support needs are diverse,” Caldwell says. “Our focus at CarePayment is to make it easy for all patients to afford and pay their healthcare bill.”
CarePayment has seen significant year-over-year growth since 2012, even during the pandemic.
“This is a situation where everyone wins,” Caldwell says. “Patients win because they can afford to pay their bill; providers win because they see an improved patient experience coupled with increased collections that otherwise would have turned into bad debt.”