The Negative Impact of Medical Credit Cards and Patient Interest Charges

Addressing the health care affordability gap: how do providers manage the affordability issue for themselves and their patients?


This article is sponsored by AblePay.

When the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and U.S. Department of Treasury (Treasury) launched an inquiry into high-cost specialty financial products, such as medical credit cards and installment loans, it caused medical providers to re-think the affordability issue facing patients. Those products are sometimes pushed on patients to pay for routine medical care, potentially driving up health care costs and medical debt.

The request for information builds on CFPB research on medical payment products, medical billing and collections, and other actions by the CFPB and federal agencies to relieve the burden of medical debt and collections practices. The three agencies sought information about the prevalence of these products, patients’ experiences with them, and health care providers’ incentives to offer these high-cost products to patients, which may include avoiding the insurance claims process and financial assistance programs. The CFPB also used public input as it considers ways to address patient harm caused by these specialty financial products.

THA’s endorsed vendor, AblePay, is the “antithesis” to the concerns highlighted above. AblePay (based out of Allentown, Pennsylvania) is addressing the affordability gap by helping patients with savings on out-of-pocket expenses (up to 13%), savings over time, or extended terms with 0% interest, while also providing advocacy services if a patient has a question on a bill.

Their solution is rapidly expanding across the country by helping both providers and their patients. AblePay is significantly changing the financial landscape for providers and their patients, and we are excited to share case study results from a Pennsylvania-based system that utilizes the AblePay program.

Lehigh Valley Health Network Case Study: Changing Patient Payment Behavior

The Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) serves the citizens of the greater Lehigh Valley, and the system includes 13 hospitals, 320+ outpatient centers, 23,000+ employees, and $3.2B in annual revenue. LVHN chose AblePay’s unique program to increase its revenue on balance after insurance and decrease their cost of collections, while also enhancing the experience for their patients in the communities they serve.

Faced with considerable rising patient out-of-pocket costs, LVHN embarked on a new strategy to efficiently collect patient balances. The objective of this approach was to enhance revenue, while at the same time reducing collection expenses.

In pursuit of these objectives, LVHN decided to embrace the cutting-edge solution provided by AblePay. By assuming full responsibility for payment risks, AblePay not only eliminated the uncertainties of collections but also removed all related expenses. Patients benefited from cost savings, flexible payment choices, a user-friendly payment portal, and the billing advocacy services offered by AblePay.

The results of the LVHN case study with AblePay included:

  • 47.3% increase in collection rate compared to LVHN’s historical collection rate.
  • 43% increase in revenue per patient.
  • 16.7% increase in new revenue for AblePay patients at LVHN facilities.
  • A decrease in days to collect from 97 days to 14 days for AblePay members.
  • A Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 89 for LVHN patients that joined AblePay.

You can view a recent Becker’s Webinar with both AblePay and the Lehigh Valley Health Network:

If you would like to learn more and set up a review with the AblePay team to explore how they can help you and your patients in the communities you serve, please contact them at [email protected].

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