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August 26, 2015

U.S. Representative Jackie Walorski (R-IN) Visits Beacon Health System to See How Innovative Patient Financing Bridges Healthcare Affordability Gap

By Shannon Conklin

South Bend, IN and Portland, OR, (August 26, 2015)— In an effort to learn more about providing Hoosiers with affordable healthcare, Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-02) today visited Beacon Health System to tour its Elkhart hospital and hear from healthcare professionals. During her visit, she was able to see the hospital successfully use patient-friendly financing to remove financial barriers to care.

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Elkhart General Hospital – Beacon

South Bend-based Beacon Health has helped 40,000 patients pay down medical debt by participating in a patient financing program from CarePayment, which features 0.00% APR for the life of the account and has no impact on patient credit scores. During the six years that Beacon Health has sponsored CarePayment, this financing program has allowed cash-strapped patients to pay millions in medical bills over time in budget-friendly amounts as low as $25 a month without incurring more debt through interest rate charges.

At Elkhart General Hospital, Walorski heard from physicians and executives of Beacon Health and CarePayment about the patient financing service as well as other innovative programs.

“Healthcare remains one of the biggest concerns of families and we are fortunate to live in a country home to some of the most advanced medicines and technologies, and a host of medical innovators right here in Elkhart,” said Walorski. “But families who choose high-deductible plans so they can afford their premiums face sticker shock from out-of-pocket expenses when they use these plans to get care,” said Walorski. “Thanks to industry leaders like Beacon Health for continuing to find practical and affordable programs that help people get the care they need.”

Together, Elkhart General Hospital and Memorial Hospital of South Bend employ more than 6,000 team members and volunteers and operate more than 1,000 hospital beds staffed by nearly 1,000 physicians. Beacon Health also is a research and education organization, guiding clinical research trials for a variety of illnesses and helping train medical residents in family medicine and hospital pharmacy.

“Beacon Health is dedicated to delivering the best care possible to our patients, and that begins with making access to care possible. By making this financial service available, we can prevent people from forgoing necessary care or adding an unreasonable burden to their family budgets,” said Jeff Costello, Beacon Health System’s Chief Financial Officer.

CarePayment teams up with health systems such as Beacon Health as well as physician groups, hospitals and other healthcare providers who sponsor the company’s co-branded financing programs for patients. The payment programs benefit both patients, who can manage their medical expenses over time, and providers, which see financial gains such as improved cash flow and lower bad debt, coupled with greater patient satisfaction and patient engagement.

In a 2014 survey of 89 Beacon Health patients who had participated in the CarePayment program, 97% were satisfied with the billing process and 93% were more satisfied with Beacon Health because of the CarePayment program.

“By helping patients manage their out-of-pocket medical expenses, Beacon Health continues to put patients’ needs first because they watch out for people’s financial health as well as their clinical health. That type of commitment shows great leadership in the healthcare community,” says Craig Hodges, CEO of CarePayment.

Beacon Health was the first healthcare provider in Indiana to make the CarePayment program available. Five other providers in Indiana also now sponsor CarePayment.