Information concerning insurance and billing procedures
The mission of Community Howard Regional Health is to improve the health of the communities we serve. Our Community Commitment is to be wise stewards of community resources. To assure quality service and support this commitment, the hospital must maintain a sound financial position.
Community Howard Regional Health is governed by a Board of Trustees appointed by the Howard County Commissioners. Our primary source of operating funds is the revenue we generate. Therefore, it is essential that we establish payment policies.
Will the hospital bill my insurance company?
Patients having Medicare, Medicaid, Blue Cross, or other health insurance are expected to assign benefits to the hospital. This process authorizes your insurance company to send payment directly to Community Howard Regional Health. If benefits are not assigned to the hospital, you will be asked to make payment in full at the time of the service.
All patients who have health insurance, whether treated as an inpatient or an outpatient, must provide proof-of-insurance for each hospital visit. Presenting a valid insurance card and identification to registration personnel satisfies this requirement. Patients whose insurance cannot be verified will be asked to make payment in full or make other payment arrangements at the time of service.
Some insurance policies require a deductible or co-payment for each hospital visit. When known, we will ask you to pay that amount at the time of service. If you furnish complete information at registration about your secondary insurance, we will also file with your secondary insurance.
In most instances, a new account is set up for each visit to the hospital. This allows your insurance company to track any deductibles and co-payments due from you.
What services will I be billed for, and how will I be billed?
Often, more than one type of charge may result from a hospital visit. It is possible that the specialized skills of other physicians and/or professionals will be required and you will receive separate billings for these services.
If you have Emergency Room service, behavioral health services, ambulance services, x-rays, laboratory tests, surgery, the services of a personal physician or neurological, cardiac, or pulmonary tests, you will receive a bill from the following, in addition to your bill from the hospital:
- Emergency Room physician
- Behavioral health professional
- Surgeon and anesthesiologist
- Your personal physician
- Physician with specialized training in test interpretation
When you receive a hospital bill for services from these departments, it includes charges for the facility, equipment, supplies, support personnel, etc. A separate bill will come from your personal physician, surgeon, or other independent supplier of medical services. If you have a question regarding a statement other than the hospital's, please call the number on the statement. The hospital does not maintain records regarding your physician's statement.
Why did I get a bill for laboratory charges?
Community Howard Regional Health’s laboratory performs tests on specimens sent to the hospital by several area physicians. You may receive a bill for these services ordered by your personal physician without having been to the hospital.
Who pays for routine check-ups and screening tests?
Most insurance plans, including Medicare, will not pay for routine physical check-ups and tests directly related to these check-ups. If you have screening tests such as pregnancy testing, HIV testing, TB testing, tests as a part of an annual physical, or other types of screenings, your insurance may not pay. Questions concerning your coverage should be directed to your insurance carrier before having the tests done.
Who pays for Emergency Room visits?
Most insurance companies will pay for treatment if the patient is in severe pain, could die, or could suffer a lifelong health problem if he or she does not get immediate help.
Most insurance companies will not pay for visits they determine were not emergencies. Some insurance companies require the patient to contact their primary care physician or the insurance company for authorization before or within 24 hours of an emergency room visit or the insurance company will not pay.However, if you have an emergency, do not hesitate to come to the hospital's Emergency Room. Your health is important. You will be seen and your emergency needs handled.
While the hospital's Emergency Room is equipped to handle most medical situations, the most seriously injured or ill patient is seen first. Routine visits for minor illnesses and diagnostic examinations are more efficiently handled by your personal physician in his/her office.
What is the hospital's bill collection policy?
Although Community Howard Regional Health files your insurance claim, there is no guarantee your insurance company will accept responsibility for payment. Due to the numerous differences in insurance benefits available, acceptance or rejection of claims by insurance companies varies. Payment for our services is the ultimate responsibility of the patient. Payment is due 45 days after your insurance has been filed.
If your insurance payments are not received within the allotted 45 days, you will be notified and asked to contact your insurance company or our Financial Counseling Department to make suitable payment arrangements.
A patient wishing to file his/her own insurance will be asked to pay all charges incurred at the time of service. Community Howard Regional Health completes hospital insurance claim forms for all patients if the patient (1) assigns all benefits to the hospital or (2) pays the account in its entirety.
If deposits cannot be met, or if the hospital bill cannot be paid in full within 45 days of the discharge date, financial arrangements need to be made with our Financial Counseling Department.
What if I am not covered by insurance?
If you do not have insurance coverage, you will be asked to make financial arrangements or to pay a deposit against the estimated total cost before discharge. The estimated total cost is based on the expected length of stay and type of care. (The minimum deposit required for inpatients is $500.) The deposit is due at the time of service and the balance of the hospital charges become due within 45 days of discharge from the hospital.
If you receive outpatient services, payment is due at the time of service.
What else should I know about financial concerns before admission to the hospital?
Many health insurance companies now require pre-admission certification, pre-authorization, primary physician referral, or a second medical opinion before they will provide benefits. Community Howard Regional Health cannot assume responsibility if you fail to follow your insurance company's instructions. Failure to satisfy an insurance company's requirements places full responsibility for payment of charges to patient.
In addition, insurance companies employ registered nurses and physicians to routinely review the medical need for hospitalization. If the insurance company representative disagrees with your physician and determines the services were not medically necessary, you may become responsible for those charges.
Is financial assistance ever available through the hospital?
While Community Howard Regional Health does not typically provide financial assistance, we are aware that, on occasion, circumstances require individual consideration. For information concerning financial assistance programs, the patient or a member of the patient's immediate family; if the patient is a minor or if the patient has given written permission, should contact the Financial Counseling Department at the hospital prior to or during the patient's stay. Our Financial Counseling staff works closely with other experienced patient advocates to find public and private assistance for patients and families with financial and healthcare needs.
Community Howard Regional Health also provides a portion of its services without charge or at a reduced charge to eligible persons who cannot afford to pay for care. To be eligible to receive financial assistance, certain income requirements must be met. Proof of household income will be required to help determine eligibility.
Community Howard Regional Health is sincere in its desire to cooperate with our customers, and we realize that emergencies may occasionally make exceptions to these policies necessary.
Treatment will not be refused in any emergency. However, just as treatment is the hospital's obligation to the patient, likewise the patient has an obligation to insure the hospital is promptly paid.
What other payment options do I have?
Community Howard Regional Health honors MasterCard, Visa, American Express, and Discover Card. Area banks and other financial institutions offer extended payment terms to qualified applicants.
Community Howard Regional Health appreciates your cooperation with the above policies. Working together, we believe everyone can benefit from finding the best possible method of payment available. With your help, Community Howard Regional Health can continue working towards keeping the cost of your hospital services as low as possible.
Payments may be made to the hospital cashier off the main lobby during normal business hours, Monday through Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. Our Registration Department Representatives are available to receive payments at any other time.
The Patient Financial Counseling Office is open Monday through Friday between 8 A.M. and 4:30 P.M.
For more information
If you would like more information, please call us at 765-453-8422.