When it Comes to Medical Bills, All’s not Well in the Buckeye State
Intuit Survey of Ohio Residents Finds Widespread Confusion, Concern About Healthcare Costs
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.– When a medical bill arrives in an Ohio resident’s mailbox, its side effects usually include procrastination, confusion and concern. That’s the conclusion of an Intuit Inc. (Nasdaq: INTU) survey that asked Ohioans how they feel about healthcare finances.
The Healthcare in Ohio survey, found Ohioans confused about what they were being asked to pay and why they owed that amount. Fifty-five percent said they stumbled over the medical jargon and codes included in their healthcare paperwork. This confusion has led, in part, to a quarter of Ohioans letting at least one medical bill go 90 days past due or be sent to a collection agency in the past year.
The survey also shed light on the anxiety facing Ohio residents from Aberdeen to Zoarville trying to get a handle on their healthcare finances. Forty-three percent felt that healthcare costs had drastically increased in the past year, and nearly 70 percent expressed concern about their ability to manage medical bills for themselves and their families. As a result, three-quarters of respondents routinely put off opening their medical mail, which includes bills and explanation of benefits statements.
“Our findings in Ohio are a prime example of how medical bills stand apart in the family budget,” said Peter Karpas, president and division general manager of Quicken Health Group. “No other payment seems to cause so much concern and angst. And because medical bill amounts can be significant and often arrive when people are stressed, this is the one bill that must be clear, understandable and easy to pay.”
These challenges are driving development in consumer-oriented medical management tools, including two online tools from Intuit: Quicken Health Expense TrackerSM, which helps patients understand what they owe and why. It also provides guidance on what to do if something is wrong, and helps consumers conveniently pay online. A second tool, Quicken HealthSM Bill Pay, makes it easy for doctors to provide their patients with a more understandable medical bill that can be conveniently paid electronically – resulting in less confusion and faster payments. More than two-thirds of survey respondents said they would use a product that would help them understand their medical bill and the amount they’re being asked to pay.
"There’s a connection between the unfamiliar language, on one hand, and delinquent bills on the other, Karpas said.
“Additional research has shown that 40 percent of patients don’t pay their medical bills, simply because they either don’t understand what they’re being asked to pay for or don’t believe they are responsible for the amount due. As many as half of those bills are written off as unpaid debt and that can drive up healthcare costs for everyone,” he added.
The Ohio study also found that people don’t use technology to pay medical bills as frequently as they do to pay other debts. While Americans routinely pay many bills electronically, 68 percent of Ohio respondents still pay their medical bills by paper check—a source of higher processing costs for a sector that is trying to keep costs down.
Quicken Health’s Ohio Healthcare survey was conducted from Sept. 22 – 29 by Decipher Research on behalf of Intuit’s Quicken Health Group. It surveyed 1,000 adult Ohio residents who had visited a medical doctor in the past 24 months.
* More Ohio survey findings can be found at www.quickenhealthohiosurvey.com
* For information on Quicken Health Expense Tracker, go to www.QuickenHealth.com
* Providers interested in learning more about Intuit Patient Payments should go to www.intuitpatientpayments.com
* Click here for the Quicken Health Group online press room.
* Follow the Quicken Health Group on Twitter at www.twitter.com/quickenhealth
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