The average American citizen spends $11,582 per year on health care annually. That’s the figure reported at the end of 2019. The stats for 2020 have yet to be released, but analysts say the average healthcare burden will top $12,000 per year per person.

These sobering statistics have healthcare providers searching for ways to help patients pay their bills. Patients are under enormous pressure to manage their costs. Providers understand that it is in their own best interest to do what they can to ease the pain of what people are obligated to pay.

There is considerable interest in the concept of flexibility. That means providers must develop payment plans that are affordable, transparent, customized, and allow for flexibility on behalf of patients who are doling out cash to them.

One way to do that is with automated payments systems. In this case, a monthly payment amount is negotiated with the patient. That amount is then configured electronically to transfer from the user account to the healthcare provider automatically. This method brings predictability and stability to the tough task of paying off medical debt.

Another option is to implement personalized payment options geared toward the ability of each patient to pay. In general, paying medical bills today is a one-size-fits-all situation. You go to a doctor, get treatment and get a huge bill. The bill is submitted, and the patient is expected to pay the total amount within X amount of time.

But such a bill can easily be $10,000, $20,000 or even $100,000 or more. One person garnering this kind of medical debt may earn $40,000 a year, while another may earn $120,000. Each of those individuals has different capacities to pay.

A personalized payment system recognizes the reality of what people can be expected to disburse. Providers will end up collecting more in the long run if they personalize a payment plan suited to the patient’s financial condition.

From the provider’s perspective, offering flexible payment options allows for storing patient payment account details, including what is owed after insurance adjustments. Programs, such as ClearGage, allow for payments to be “tokenized.” They can then be stored in a payment vault that is PCI, EMV, or otherwise certified.

The result is simplified payment methods for patients, a steady income stream for providers, and reduces the time needed for managing complicated financial transactions.