December 14 – The prices charged to patients for services provided at hospitals and other healthcare organizations has historically been challenging until after the services are provided, insurance is processed, and the bill arrives in the mail. Lakes Regional Healthcare (LRH) has taken steps to address this question before a scheduled service occurs. They recently added an “Estimate My Bill” tool on their website for consumer-patients to use.
The tool allows consumers to select a service after inputting their existing insurance plan information. The tool then uses artificial intelligence to gather information on the consumer’s specific co-pays and deductibles and scans the health care provider fee arrangements with the respective insurer to determine the personalized best estimate for out-of-pocket costs for the specific service the consumer is seeking. Uninsured consumers can also get a cost estimate that includes cash pay discounts.
The estimate is only for out-of-pocket cost for services at LRH. Additional services that may not be part of the estimate include, but are not limited to, professional fees and anesthesia charges. Patients may receive additional bills for services ordered. The tool currently has many services and procedures listed, but many more will be added as the tool is further developed.
“We are focused on the future of health care, transparency, and improving the experiences our patients have with us,” said LRH President and CEO Jason Harrington. “In the past, we’ve provided cost estimates to those who requested them. Now health care consumers increasingly expect their experiences with health care to mirror those in the retail space, especially as patients take on more financial responsibility. Getting a self-serve cost estimate digitally on demand is one way we are addressing this expectation.”
Those interested in using the service can do so by visiting here. Those with questions can call LRH Financial Counselor Cindy Woelber at 712-336-8742.