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July 28, 2015

North Kansas City Hospital To Add Flexible Patient Financing Programs

By Shannon Conklin

0.00% APR payment plans adjust term lengths for higher patient-owed balances  

North-Kansas-City-Hospital-CarePayment

NORTH KANSAS CITY, MO and PORTLAND, OR (July 28, 2015) – North Kansas City Hospital (NKCH) has implemented a highly flexible patient financing program from CarePayment that allows patients to pay medical bills over time at 0.00% APR for the life of the account without any impact on patients’ credit scores. The payment program features term lengths of 6, 12 and 24 months based on patient-owed balances.

“We’ve seen a sharp increase in higher deductibles and co-pays in the past few years, and these larger medical bills are a financial hardship for many patients,” says Kelli Schroeder, manager of Patient Accounts for NKCH. “We wanted to offer a service that made care more affordable for our patients, and that’s exactly what CarePayment does. Rather than locking everyone into a single term length, CarePayment offers payment plans that fit patient balances without adding extra charges, interest or fees. Patients also can add more charges to their account and the term length will automatically adjust.”

Another key reason for NKCH’s decision to partner with CarePayment: CarePayment’s programs are compliant with the new Internal Revenue Service regulations regarding extraordinary collection actions, Schroeder says. Non-compliance with IRS 501(r) rules can lead to non-profit providers losing their tax-exempt status.

The rise in patient medical costs in North Kansas City and surrounding communities mirrors the trend sweeping the United States. More than 17 million people had high deductible plans in 2014, up from 1 million 10 years earlier, the Association for Health Insurance Plans reports. Nearly half, or 46%, of Americans say basic medical care costs are a hardship compared to 36% a year earlier, according to a December, 2014 New York Times/CBS News poll.  With people paying a much greater share of their medical costs due to high deductibles and increasing premiums and co-pays, one in four admit skipping medication and 31% avoided needed treatment because they couldn’t pay for it.

“The growing healthcare affordability gap has serious consequences for people and their providers. North Kansas City Hospital is one of the leading healthcare providers that is stepping into the breach by offering payment programs that enable people to afford necessary care,” says CarePayment CEO Craig Hodges. “We are delighted to team up with North Kansas City Hospital to extend this financial lifeline to its patients and support its mission of caring for the health and well-being of the Northland community and beyond.”

A CarePayment account is a flexible open-end line of credit, not a credit card or loan. Patients can manage their accounts in a variety of ways, including automatic payments, mobile and online account access, and paper or electronic statements.