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Frequently Asked Questions
Click the questions below to learn more about payment options offered at Clay County Hospital.
How much will I actually have to pay out of my pocket?
- A patient with health insurance needs to pay the deductible, copay and/or coinsurance set by their health plan. The financial obligations could differ depending on whether the hospital or physicians are “out-of-network,” meaning the health plan does not have a contract with them. Contact your insurance company to understand what your financial obligations will be.
- A patient without health insurance will discuss financial assistance options available that could include either a complete write-off or a substantial reduction of the charges in accordance with the Illinois Hospital Uninsured Patient Discount Act and the hospital’s financial assistance program.
Health insurance plan pays:
- Health plans such as Medicare, Medicaid, workers’ compensation, commercial health insurance, etc., do not pay charges. Instead, they pay a set price that has been predetermined or negotiated in advance. The patient only pays the out-of-pocket amounts set by the health plan.
What do the following health insurance terms mean?
- Deductible means the amount the patient needs to pay for health care services before the health plan begins to pay. The deductible may not apply to all services.
- Copay means a fixed amount (for example, $20) the patient pays for a covered health care service, such as a physician office visit or prescription.
- Coinsurance means the percentage the patient pays for a covered health service (for example, 20% of the bill). This is based on the allowed amount for the service. You pay coinsurance plus any deductibles you owe.
A patient’s specific health care plan coverage, including the deductible, copay and coinsurance, varies depending on what plan the patient has. Health plans also have differing networks of hospitals, physicians and other providers that the plan has contracted with. Patients need to contact their health plan for this specific information.
What is the difference between charges, cost and price?
- The charges are based on what type of care was provided and can differ from patient to patient for similar services, depending on any complications or different treatment provided due to the patient’s health.
Cost – For a hospital, it is the total expense incurred to provide the health care. Hospitals have higher costs to provide care than freestanding or retail providers, even for the same type of service. This is because a hospital is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and needs to have everything necessary available to cover any and all emergencies. Non-hospital health care providers can choose when to be available and typically would not provide services that would result in losses. A hospital’s cost of services can vary depending on additional factors such as:
- Types of services it provides since many vital services are provided at a loss such as trauma, burn, neonatal, psychiatric, and others;
- Providing medical education programs to train physicians, nurses and other health care professionals, again provided at a loss;
- More patients with significantly higher levels of illness, yet payment doesn’t cover;
- A disproportionately high number of patients who are on public assistance or uninsured and unable to pay much if anything toward the cost of their care.
Total Price is the amount actually paid to a hospital. Hospitals are paid by health plans and/or patients, but the total amount paid is significantly less than the starting charges.
- On average in 2013, Medicare paid Illinois hospitals only 91% of a hospital’s cost to provide that care and Medicaid even less.
- Medicare and Medicaid pay hospitals according to a set fee schedule depending on the service provided, much less than the hospital charge and actually less than their costs.
- Commercial insurers negotiate discounts with hospitals on behalf of their enrollees and pay hospitals at varying discount levels, but much less than starting charges.
- Illinois hospitals provide free care to uninsured patients with incomes up to 200% ($47,700 for family of 4 in 2014) of the federal poverty level (FPL) in urban areas and 125% ($29,813 for family of 4 in 2014) in rural areas.
- Illinois hospitals provide discounts to 135% of the hospital’s costs to patients with incomes up to 600% ($143,100 family of 4 in 2014) FPL in urban areas and 300% FPL ($71,550 family of 4 in 2014) in rural areas.
- Illinois hospitals provided $1.07 billion in free and discounted care measured at cost in 2012. In addition, they wrote off about $780 million in bad debt cost.
How can I use this hospital charge information for comparing prices?
A patient who has the specific insurance codes for services requested, available from their physician, can better gauge charge estimates across hospitals. Ask your physician to provide the technical name of the procedure that has been recommended as well as the specific ICD and CPT codes for service.
How can I get an estimate for a specific procedure?
Such estimate will be an average charge for the procedure without complications. A physician or physicians make the determination regarding specific care needed based on considerations using the patient’s diagnosis, general health condition and many other factors. For example, one individual may require only a one-day hospital stay for a particular procedure, while another may require a two-day stay for the exact same procedure.
Remember that the patient will not pay charges. Rather, the patient with health insurance will only pay the specified deductible, copay and coinsurance amounts established by their health plan. A patient without health insurance or sufficient financial resources may be eligible for significant discounts from charges. Please contact the patient financial services depart for further information.
- Actual hospital charges may be different because of your medical condition, length of time spent in surgery or recovery, necessary specific equipment, supplies or medication, complications requiring unanticipated procedures, or other treatment ordered by the physician.
- If you have health insurance, significant discounts have already been obtained on your behalf and you will only pay a small portion of the charge, depending on your deductible, copay and/or coinsurance. Please provide your insurance information to the hospital and/or contact your health plan directly for your specific payment amounts.
- This estimate is for informational purposes only and is not a quote or a guarantee of what the charges will be for a specific patient’s care.
- This estimate does not include the professional services provided by a physician, surgeon, radiologist, anesthesiologist, pathologist, advanced practice nurse or other independent practitioners.
- You will likely receive separate bills for the physicians and other professionals who provided treatment to you. These physicians may not be participating providers in the same insurance plans and networks as the hospital. As such, you may have greater financial responsibility for these services that are not under contract with the health plan
- An important component of choosing a healthcare provider is determining quality of care. Your doctor can be a helpful resource in choosing where to obtain care.
- To compare hospital charges, quality and patient satisfaction metrics for nearly 50 major diagnoses, go to the Illinois Hospital Report Card website.
- Further Medicare hospital-specific quality outcome measures are available on the Hospital Compare website.