IVCH Charges

Hospitals are required to share the standard charges for services and medicines that they provide patients. In an effort to ensure that our patients are knowledgeable about the different terms used when billing for a healthcare service, the following are key definitions related to payments and working with your insurance plans:

  • Deductible
    The deductible amount is based on what the insurance policy deems as payable by the patient before it begins to pay. This can range from $500 or $10,000, depending on what the patient has chosen when they signed-up for their plan.
  • Co-Pay
    Co-pay dollars are what is paid up front by the patient for a covered healthcare service, such as a doctor visit or a medication. This co-pay amount is determined by the patient’s policy.
  • Co-Insurance
    Co-insurance is the percentage of the bill that a patient pays for the covered services within their policy. This may be an 80%/20% split, where the patient pays the 20% remaining on the bill after the plan pays the first 80%.

There is other terminology that is important for you to understand as you consider your payment responsibility and IVCH’s charges. Healthcare organizations consider three different terms when referring to a patients’ bill:

  • Charge
    This dollar amount is the amount set prior to any discounts that may be provided to a payer in order for the healthcare system to accept their patients.
  • Cost
    Cost is the total expense incurred for taking care of a patient. Healthcare services are provided around the clock so are higher than another type of industry.
  • Price
    Price is the actual amount paid to a healthcare organization, and is more times than not, much less than the actual charges for the services provided.
For a complete review of our standard charges, please Click Here.

FAQ About Hospital Charges

HOW MUCH WILL I ACTUALLY HAVE TO PAY OUT OF MY POCKET?

Patient pays:

  • 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.

  • If you need help understanding your healthcare bill or help obtaining further information about payment plans or discounts, please call 815-780-3764.

WHAT DO THE FOLLOWING HEALTH INSURANCE TERMS MEAN?

Deductible means the amount the patient needs to pay for healthcare services before the health plan begins to pay. The deductible may not apply to all services.

Copay means a fixed amount (e.g., $20) the patient pays for a covered healthcare service, such as a physician office visit or prescription.

Coinsurance means the percentage the patient pays for a covered health service (e.g., 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 healthcare 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?

Total charge is the amount set before any discounts. Hospitals are required by the federal government to utilize uniform charges as the starting point for all bills.

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 healthcare. 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 healthcare 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 healthcare 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.

  • In 2015, Medicare paid Illinois hospitals on average only 90% 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’s total 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% ($48,600 for family of 4 in 2016) of the federal poverty level (FPL) in urban areas and 125% ($30,375 for family of 4 in 2016) in rural areas.
  • Illinois hospitals provide discounts to 135% of the hospital’s costs to patients with incomes up to 600% ($145,800 family of 4 in 2016) FPL in urban areas and 300% FPL ($72,900 family of 4 in 2014) in rural areas.
  • Illinois hospitals provided nearly $800 million in free and discounted care measured at cost in 2015.

If an uninsured patient is not eligible for Financial Assistance, IVCH offers interest-free payment plans.

HOW CAN I USE THIS HOSPITAL CHARGE INFORMATION TO COMPARE PRICES?

Charge information is not necessarily useful for consumers who are “comparison shopping” between hospitals because the descriptions for a particular service could vary from hospital to hospital and what is included in that description. It is difficult to try to independently compare the charges for a procedure at one facility versus another. An actual procedure is comprised of numerous components from several different departments - room and board, laboratory, other diagnostics, pharmaceuticals, therapies, etc.

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?

If you need an estimate for a specific procedure or operation, please call 815-780-4602.

Such an 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 same procedure due to underlying medical condition.

Remember, patients with health insurance will only pay the specified deductible, copay and coinsurance amounts established by their health plan. Patients without health insurance or sufficient financial resources may be eligible for significant discounts from charges. Please contact the patient financial services office at 815-780-3764 for further information.