Aflac, our favorite duck-mascot-representing company, has launched the Close the Gap initiative featuring spokesman Deion Sanders, one of the good guys in the Football Hall of Fame.

Recognizing the fact that nearly one-half of insured Americans don’t have enough in savings to pay for medical expenses, the company established the Aflac Care Index to educate and advocate for peoples’ health and financial security — including those people who have health care coverage.

While U.S. consumers are facing historically high levels of inflation for household spending on food, petrol, and home goods, health consumers will be dealing with greater out-of-pocket spending based on health insurance forecasts such as this latest one from Segal.

The No Surprises Act was meant to support patients’ ability to research health care costs and prices, but hospitals’ implementation of the Act has been spotty, often resulting in poorly-designed websites that haven’t been that helpful to healthcare shoppers.

As a result, the landscape of patient payment and revenue cycle management programs continues to evolve. The latest iteration/offering to help patients pay medical bills is the concept of “Buy Now, Pay Later,” or BNPL. This idea comes out of consumer goods and food delivery, such as a new-fangled way to do what we once called “layaway” plans at retail, or for ordering and eating pizza “now,” but paying for it “later.” A survey from Momentive found some patients interested in paying for health care via BNPL. Consumer financial advocates worry this could be yet another way to exacerbate medical debt.

In the meantime, the proliferation of BNPL vendors is growing around the world, some shown in CB Insights’ analysis shown here.

For more on health care costs facing U.S. patients in the context of household inflation, see my latest blog post in Medecision’s Liberate Health portal.