Healthcare’s Shift to Patient Self Pay

This stat was absolutely remarkable. It came from Intermountain healthcare. Healthcare Scene writers and I have written about this shift multiple times, but it was pretty stark to see the stats on how big the shift really is for an organization.

This same speaker at the Craneware Summit also said that only 40% of self pay is collectible. That’s a huge chunk of money your organization use to collect that is now being sent to collections. Now do you see why this shift in payments really matters?

Barry Haitoff, CEO of Medical Management Corporation of America, offered these words of advice on how to deal with the increase in patient self pay:

There are two main things you need to do to prepare for these high deductible plans. First, make sure you have a solid method in place to know how much the patient owes before or immediately after the visit. There is no better way to reduce patient collections than to collect the payment while the patient is in the office. Many are ready and willing to pay, but some practices don’t have the systems that allow them to know how much to charge the patient before they leave.

Second, look at your processes for collecting patient payments once they’ve left the building. Do you have a good strategy in place to make sure the patient knows how much they owe? Do you have a variety of simple ways for the patient to make the payment? The use of an online payment portal for patients is the most obvious way to make submitting payment to physicians simple for patients. If you solve these two problems you’ll go a long way to improving your patient collections.

These really are two great steps to deal with patient collections and the increase in patient self pay. I’m also watching new payment technologies. I’ll be interested to see what new payment methodologies are rolled out now that the patient pay portion of the bill is so much higher. Now that it matters a lot more to a clinic, I think we’ll see some new tech solutions that work to solve it. Credit card on file is one example.

What are you doing to handle this increase in patient self pay?

Full Disclosure: Medical Management Corporation of America is a sponsor of Healthcare Scene’s EMR and HIPAA blog.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference,, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.


  • This is a great post! Thank you for sharing. There’s definitely a shift in today’s healthcare towards self-pay patients. Doctors and patients alike can get past insurance hassles by just paying for procedures upfront. CarePilot started because there was a need in the community to provide price transparency to healthcare procedures.

    We know that
    1. Patients are willing to pay cash for procedures
    2. Providers are willing to accept cash from patients

    We are introducing the marketplace for both parties to come together.
    Patients pay upfront for procedures and providers get pre-paid, committed customers to their practice. We handle the payment process and providers get paid weekly.
    We hope to help fill the gap where millions of Americans are still without health insurance and those who are completely under-insured.

    We would love to connect with you.

    Elizabeth Moreno
    Client Relations

  • The national stats for the public exchange show 62% of people are picking the silver plan which has on average a $6,000 family deductible and 19% of people are picking the bronze plan which has on average a $10,000 family deductible. These same trends are happening on private exchanges as well where more and more people are going to purchase health insurance. The CEO of Aetna has recently stated he would not be surprised if 50% of healthcare payments come from patients by 2020. This trend is only starting and going to be much larger in the years to come.

    I would welcome any perspective both for or against these trends.

    Tom Furr

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