Decoding Medical Bills | Inspiring Health | © Sacred Heart Hospital

Decoding Medical Bills

Knowing how to manage your medical bills—with or without the aid of insurance—can make life simpler when you need care.

Reading and understanding your medical bills doesn’t have to be complicated, and that knowledge can go a long way to reducing your stress level.

“Medical bills can be intimidating,” says Tina Bloom, MBA, Director of Revenue Cycle at HSHS Sacred Heart and HSHS St. Joseph’s hospitals. “We’ve tried to make ours as clear as possible. We include descriptions of the charges, dates when services were performed, and information about adjustments and payments so people can see what they’re being charged and why.”

Breaking It Down

A medical bill may include charges from multiple health care providers for a single visit. This is normal practice and no cause for concern.

“We partner with other health care providers that may bill separately for their services,” Bloom says. “For example, a surgical bill might include charges from the hospital, the surgeon, and the anesthesiologist.”

If you’d like an estimate for a procedure or service before coming to the hospital, you can contact us directly and speak with a representative who can help.

“We provide a guaranteed estimate within 24 hours of the call, any time up until the scheduled procedure,” Bloom says. “The process is not automated. You’ll speak with a live customer service representative.”

Payment Plans

Although we offer competitive pricing, you may require additional help to manage your medical expenses. Whether or not you have insurance, we offer financial assistance that can help you balance your budget.

“Our billing statements provide information about payment plans, and we offer online brochures and applications as well,” Bloom says.

If you need help reading a bill, paying a bill, or finding more information about your account, our billing statements also include a customer service line and website that can assist you.

To learn more about billing, payment plans, and financial assistance, visit HSHS Sacred Heart or HSHS St. Joseph’s or call 888.445.4554, ext. 4141.

Medical bills can come out of nowhere and blindside your budget.

“Any sort of debt or bill can contribute to stress, but few people anticipate or prepare for medical bills,” says Corina Fisher, LCSW, Outpatient Behavioral Health Counselor and Facilitator at HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital’s L.E. Phillips-Libertas Treatment Center. “Medical bills can be unbudgeted stressors.”

Receiving a hefty medical bill on top of dealing with a stressful procedure or diagnosis can take a toll on your mental and emotional health. To help deal with the anxiety of an upcoming medical bill or one you’ve already started paying, keep in mind that the cost is necessary to take care of your or a loved one’s health.

“It’s OK to have these bills,” Fisher says. “Health has to come first.”

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