Most people want to know the cost of their medical services, but don’t know how to access the information. Knowing the cost of a service up front enables you to make informed decisions about your health and care. In recent years, hospitals have introduced programs to provide easier payment methods for patients. One program is called Point-of-Service Payment, and it consists of patients paying their portion of the bill at the time of service.
New Financial Support System for Patients
The Memorial Health System announces implementation of a payment process that helps patients know and understand the cost of their medical care before receiving services in non-emergent situations. As part of its financial transparency to the community, the health system’s software tool offers real-time cost estimates for co-pay, co-insurance and deductibles so patients can make informed decisions about their health care.
Most people want to know the cost of their medical services, but don’t know how to access the information. When you know the cost of a service upfront, you can make informed decisions about your health and wellness care. In recent years, hospitals have introduced programs to provide easier payment methods for patients. One program is called Point-of-Service Payment, and it consists of patients paying their portion of the bill at the time of service or immediately after services have been delivered.
Q & A for Patients
Why has the hospital implemented this program…I was never asked to pay at the time of service before?
Today, most service organizations require payment at the time of service, including hospitals. This is done primarily for three reasons:
1) providing patients’ information about their expected portion of the bill upfront allows them to make informed decisions;
2) a significant portion of a hospital’s revenue is from insured patients’ co-payments, deductibles and non-covered procedures, as well as payments from patients without insurance; and
3) by collecting payments at the Point-of- Service, hospital operating costs are kept down, since collecting after patients leave the facility can be both costly and time consuming. These savings are then reinvested to help operate the hospital and pay for new medical technology– all of which benefit our patients and community.
How can I pay my portion of the bill?
For your convenience, we take cash, checks and credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, and Discover). Our representative can help you complete this process. We participate in many programs to assist our patients in their financing including a prompt pay discount of 15%. This helps relieve the stress of worrying about bills at a time when you need to focus on getting well.
How does the hospital determine my payment?
For scheduled services, the hospital will call and verify insurance coverage in advance and notify the patient what their portion of the bill will be. In addition, many insurance plans list the co-pays for various services, such as Emergency Room visit co-pays, on the insurance card. The main difference between Point-of-Service and other payment programs is that we ask for your portion of the bill while you are at the hospital rather than billing you later.
For elective procedures will I know my portion of the bill before I get to the hospital?
We will make every effort to contact your insurance company so that you will know the balance due at the time of service. We will ensure that pre-certification is obtained for you, which ensures that you have met the various criteria that insurance companies sometimes require for certain services before they will agree to pay. We do this on your behalf to help ensure your insurance company won’t deny your claim, which could leave you responsible for the entire bill.
What if I am in a financially difficult situation?
We understand that sometimes paying deductibles or co-pays can be difficult due to life situations. If you need assistance with payment options, you will be referred to a representative who can help identify possible financial assistance such as Medicaid or any other federal, state or local benefits coverage. The representative can also help develop a payment plan that is satisfactory to both the patient and the hospital. We participate in many programs to assist our patients in their financing including a prompt pay discount of 20%. This helps relieve the stress of worrying about bills at a time when you need to focus on getting well.
What if I come to the hospital in an emergency?
The first priority of any Emergency Room nurse or physician is to care for patients and do everything possible to help them during an emergency situation. With that in mind, after a medical screening examination has been performed and the patient is determined not to have an emergency medical condition, the registration clerk may ask for payment.
What do I need to bring with me to the hospital now?
To assist the hospital in determining the proper amount due at the point-of-service, patients should bring insurance cards, have their Social Security number and photo identification (such as a driver’s license). The registration clerk will use this information to confirm with your insurance provider what your co-payment and deductibles are for the services you are receiving. Patients should also be prepared to pay by bringing their check book, credit card, etc.