The roughly 75 million Americans known as baby boomers are becoming Medicare-eligible 65-year-olds at an astonishing rate of nearly 10,000 people every day, a trend that is expected to continue through 2029.
The stress that this rapidly aging population is placing on the healthcare system has been well documented: a lack of geriatricians, shortage of skilled nursing and long-term care facilities, and out-of-pocket healthcare spending that outpaces Social Security income.
But baby boomers aren’t just aging in place; they are doing quite the opposite. Boomers are more proactive about their healthcare, leading more active lifestyles, adopting new technologies, and living longer lives.
Healthcare Payment Trends Among Baby Boomers
Baby boomers are more assertive, engaged, and educated healthcare consumers compared to previous generations of older adults, but what about their payment habits? Consider these statistics on baby boomers:
- 26 percent have used online bill pay to repay a loan or debt
- 45 percent have used mobile banking to pay bills
- Only 13 percent of baby boomers over age 60 write paper checks
- 67 percent own smartphones
- 29 percent have high-deductible health plans
- More than one-third of Medicare beneficiaries are enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans from a private insurer
We have also found baby boomers to have the highest pay rate compared to other generations.
Tips for Effective Healthcare Communication With Baby Boomers
As with reaching any generation, effective communication to baby boomers starts with bucking assumptions and understanding their true preferences with data. Here are some tips to inspire action from baby boomers to positively impact the revenue cycle:
Don’t Assume Older Patients Want to Pay by Check
The idea that older consumers are keeping paper checks alive is a myth. While it’s true that checks are trending toward obsoletion, baby boomers are not to be blamed more than any other generation. Surprisingly, the use of checks is fairly consistent across all age ranges over 35, with demographics such as marital status, race, and income showing greater variability.
Declining check usage is a win for healthcare organizations, as checks take longer and cost more to process. Baby boomers are open to more progressive payment options but need a little encouragement and education.
Don’t Blind-Side Them With High Bills
Many retired baby boomers are on fixed incomes, so unexpected healthcare bills can come as a shock. Up-front service estimations will warm patients to their probable financial obligations, give them time to process the news, and help them prepare for the payment.
Even those on tight, fixed incomes or with high-deductible health plans are willing to pay their bill in full if given the appropriate education and tools, including payment installment plans.
Reduce Barriers to Getting Patients in the Door
Your first chance to impact the revenue cycle is to get patients to show up on time for appointments. Text- and phone-based appointment reminders can reach baby boomers effectively, since most own smartphones.
All automated phone communications with this generation should provide clear, direct instructions, and easy-to-understand prompts. Address any potential barriers to communicating with this population and hurdles they may face when accessing care — including hearing difficulties, lack of transportation, or handicap accessibility — so every patient can get the information they need to feel confident in their healthcare experience.
Tune Into Their Individual Preferences
Generational tendencies are a good starting point for tailoring communications and payment options to individuals, but like all generations, each baby boomer has unique preferences based on their location, income, and attitudes.
Your best option for inspiring action from your patients is to implement an advanced analytics solution to profile individual healthcare consumers based on demographic trends, behavioral patterns, known preferences, and predicted outcomes.
RevSpring Can Help
Integrated payment communication is part of RevSpring’s DNA. We tailor the payment conversation to influence behavior and inspire action. Our segmentation rules and workflows help you become hyper-focused on the patient, understanding their ability to pay and mapping their financial obligations to repayment pathways.
If you’d like to learn more about our comprehensive patient engagement and billing solutions, we’d love to help you. Request a demo to see how we can help your organization meet its goals.