Despite strong patient interest, only 8% are offered no- or low-interest loans

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A majority of healthcare providers fail to discuss pricing and payment options prior to providing care, despite patient demands, according to the HealthFirst Financial Patient Survey.

The survey, conducted by ORC International, took place Aug. 7-9 among 1,011 adults.

Here are seven findings from the survey.

1. The survey found 77 percent of respondents believe it’s “important” or “very important” they know healthcare costs prior to care, and more than half of respondents (53 percent) want to discuss financing options prior to treatment.

2. Additionally, a majority of respondents (63 percent) indicated it was “important” or “very important” for providers to publish prices of common procedures.

3. But only 18 percent of respondents said any of their healthcare providers had discussed patient financing options with them at all in the past two years.

4. More than half of respondents (57 percent) reported it’s “important” or “very important” their healthcare provider offer no-interest payment extension options. But only 8 percent of respondents received zero- or low-interest financing from a healthcare provider, according to the survey.

5. Respondents also indicated availability of payment programs affect their choice in provider. The survey found 40 percent of millennials, ages 18 to 36, would be “very likely” or “likely” to change providers if another provider offered low- or zero- interest financing for medical payments, and 29 percent of respondents overall indicated they would change to a provider with attractive payment programs.

6. Patients seek these discussions and options as they are concerned about medical costs. The survey found 42 percent of respondents are “very concerned” or “concerned” about being able to cover out-of-pocket medical bills in the next two years. More than half of respondents (54 percent) with annual income of less than $35,000 said the same.

7. HealthFirst Financial said 53 percent of respondents indicated they are worried about being able to pay a medical bill of less than $1,000. For a bill of that amount, the survey also found 52 percent of respondents would initially have interest in a multiyear, no-interest financing option from their healthcare provider.

Access the full survey here.

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