Financial Health: How Innovative Fintech Solutions can Transform Healthcare Finance

The following is a guest article by Yaacov Martin, CEO at Jifiti

If you are responsible for payments at a healthcare provider or overseeing digital strategy and innovation, it’s time to look at how embedding bank payment plans for your patients and customers within your payment system can help you build patient loyalty and stay ahead of competitors, while solving the medical debt crisis impacting patients’ financial well-being. 

Some 40% of U.S. adults owe money related to medical or dental care. And it’s not just a patient issue; healthcare providers face the challenge of delivering quality care while ensuring financial viability for patients. 

Financial protection is achieved when direct out-of-pocket payments for health services do not expose people to financial hardship or cause them to ‘give up’ on payments before they’ve even started. Numerous alternative lenders globally are working to mitigate this crisis by issuing loans for healthcare seekers short of available funds. 

But there are other options out there, like point-of-sale (POS) financing from regulated banks and lenders, which insert responsible financial products (for varying customer credit profiles, ticket sizes, and use cases) within a patient’s journey. This approach to healthcare financing can harmonize the interests of patients, lenders, and healthcare providers for healthy outcomes for all. 

The U.S. healthcare system does not provide universal coverage and there is a mix of publicly-financed government coverage and privately-financed health coverage. This healthcare financing gap brings a unique opportunity for banks and other regulated lenders to address the economic challenges associated with medical expenses. 

While it was previously difficult to embed financial products within existing healthcare systems, today there are solutions that make it a simple process. 

Healthcare providers, technology companies, and regulated lenders can collaborate to drive digital transformation and financing accessibility while meeting regulatory and compliance standards and protecting the patient’s financial well-being. 

Here are some of the benefits and outcomes of a regulated healthcare financing solution for patients, healthcare providers, and lenders.

Empowering Patients to Break Free from Debt 

In 2021, the financial burden of healthcare costs and paying out-of-pocket pushed over half a billion people into extreme poverty or worsened their existing situation. This is also often because patients choose to pay with credit cards or third-party healthcare financing solutions. 

That’s why healthcare providers are turning to reputable, responsible financial products and services that can provide patients with real-time, equitable, and seamless financing, effectively assisting in managing patient healthcare costs. There is an increasing demand for hyper-personalized payment solutions and financial products that can help patients manage healthcare costs by matching the right financing to their treatment, ticket size, credit profile, and more. 

White-labeled embedded lending solutions mean healthcare providers can offer a full suite of POS financing products — from installment medical loans and lines of credit to payment plans — from top banks and regulated lenders. These fair financing options are embedded in patients’ existing payment processes, whether accessed in the clinic, on the phone, or online. Patients wouldn’t need to be redirected to a lender, smoothing the path to treatment and building patient loyalty. 

Real-time customer financing options enable patients to apply for financing via their personal devices and receive a decision immediately from the lender. Then, payment could be made directly from the lender to the healthcare provider, or the patient could receive a virtual card to facilitate the transaction and disburse the funds. 

Pros for Healthcare Providers 

Did you know that from 2000 to 2002, hospitals of all types have provided almost $745 billion in uncompensated care to patients? Late or no payment from patients is a significant issue for U.S. healthcare providers. They spend resources on collection efforts and may experience delayed availability of funds for operational expenses. 

Some fintech solutions already offer smart health pay cards or zero-interest rate credit to ensure providers engage patients efficiently, eliminate collection challenges, improve billing effectiveness, and give patients a positive, easy user experience. 

Embedded lending is another option, where patients are able to pay over time while providers, from fertility clinics to dentists, get paid instantly. It ensures positive cash flow, and there’s no risk for healthcare providers — in fact, it can mean increased revenues due to the mitigation of affordability issues for patients. Giving patients affordable, responsible, and flexible payment options leads to positive associations with the healthcare provider’s brand.

With embedded lending platforms, providers can now easily and seamlessly offer their patients financing from top banks and regulated lenders at any point of sale. In doing so, they are ensuring maximum patient protection by offering transparent financing options that serve the patient’s best interests and comply with industry privacy and regulatory standards 

Healthcare providers can also access valuable data insights about patient preferences and behavior, enabling data-driven decisions and hyper-personalization of financing programs. 

Financial Health for the Long-Term 

With a proven responsible lending system in place and the secure storage of customer information, healthcare providers can dramatically improve patient satisfaction and loyalty. Meanwhile, patients gain access to personalized financing solutions that can reduce their debt in the long-term and ensure that they are financially healthy.

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