Rising Paper Statement Costs and the Switch to Mobile Patient Payments [Infographic]
September 9, 2022
The infographic below explores what’s causing the significant increase in the cost of paper statements, and how switching to a mobile patient payment platform can positively impact your organization.
Has your cost to run paper patient statements significantly increased in the past six months? If you answered yes, you’re not alone. What’s driving up the price, and what can be done to drive more patients to pay via mobile?
1. The cost of raw goods, specifically WOOD PULP
“For several decades, the demand for paper and the prices had remained relatively flat. We saw a few increases here and there that didn’t affect pricing in a major way, but what we’ve seen over the past two years is pricing for the wood pulp used to make paper has increased roughly 40 percent, which is huge,” DeJoris said in the release. “And I think it’ll stay there for good unless there is some new technology or more infrastructure is built to accommodate the demand.” (Paper Chase: Unexpected Price Increases Hit Pulp Market)
2. Manufacturing challenges
“Meanwhile, paper manufacturing capacity in the United States has fallen. Several major mills have reduced their production. Georgia-Pacific, for example, scaled back operations at its facility in Camas, Washington. Others, like West Linn, have gone out of business.”
“As a result of that, more than 10 percent of North American manufacturing capacity for printing paper was taken out of the system in just a six-month period,” says Travis Mlakar, president of paper distributor Millcraft. (Paper Chase: Unexpected Price Increases Hit Pulp Market)
3. Rising cost of postage
On July 10, 2022, the United States Postal Service increased the price of a First-Class Mail Forever stamp from fifty-eight cents to sixty cents. Additional price increases include:
4. The price of fuel and freight costs
During the pandemic, people were consuming much less fuel, and production was cut way back. Just as the economy began to rebound, the war between Russia and Ukraine added to the squeeze on oil prices.
“Diesel is really the economic fuel. It’s the lifeblood of the economy, transportation, power in some cases…so it really is embedded in economic activity and it’s filtered through so many goods and services.” (CNBC)
“Diesel prices are rocketing higher too. Retail diesel prices hit an all-time high of $5.577 a gallon on Wednesday, up 76% over the past year.” (CNBC)
Rampant inflation is about to make patient payments more difficult (and more expensive) to collect as prices for everything including every day items like gas and food continue to increase. The Congressional Budget Office says high inflation will persist into 2023, and without federal stimulus funding consumers will undoubtedly feel the pinch.
1. Offset a portion of the cost of paper statements with a mobile solution
In most cases, the cost of implementing SSI’s new Mobile Payment solution can be offset by the reduction in paper statements, making purchasing this Solution a budget-neutral decision.
Things to consider when calculating your current cost of paper patient statements…
The cost of processing a patient statement is not just the cost of printing and posting the physical statement. According to MGMA statistics, the national average for processing a patient statement is about $8.75 per unique statement.
When reviewing these costs with our clients, we typically find the dollar amount even higher.
A breakdown of a cost includes some of the following items:
- Printing and Mailing- the national average for the printing and mailing of a statement is between $0.60 and $0.70. Factors affecting those costs include additional pages and how mailing costs are charged. The average patient visit requires 2.8 statements to be mailed before payment is received.
- Processing Costs- In addition to printing and mailing, there are costs associated with the payment posting and processing, portal reconciliation, processing refunds, credit card processing, and reconciliation.
- Call Center- hosting a call center for processing payments and addressing patient concerns.
2. Expedite the speed of patient self-pay revenue
On average 41% of payments are made within the first 48 hours; while 80% of payments are made within the first 14 days
On average, clients who have implemented this mobile payment solution are experiencing
- 28% reduction in paper statements
- 20% reduction in call center volume and staffing
- 98% of patients pay in full
Do I have to switch out credit card merchant services to add this solution? No. You can continue to use your existing vendor.
I already have an online portal where patients can pay their bills. Why should I add this solution? Omni channel billing is the best strategy for collecting reimbursements, where every option is made available to a patient. It is a best practice to begin a billing process with your least expensive and most effective channel: mobile payments (vs. a paper statement in which the opposite is true). Additionally, with mobile payments we’ve stripped away all the roadblocks between receiving and paying a bill so patients don’t have to download an app, remember their password, or reference an account number from a paper statement. Patients can simply make 1-touch payments directly from their phone.
I’m interested in signing up, how long does it typically take to implement this tool? There is no interruption of your current workflow, and the implementation of this solution is measured in hours, not weeks or months. The solution is fully automated and routes payment information in a file format similar to EDI-835, enabling payment reconciliation in real-time with existing software. Once live, there’s no software to use or human intervention required.