UCHealth is now one of the nation’s first health care systems to provide individualized price estimates that are specific to patients’ own insurance situations via its online patient portal, mobile app, and through a dedicated call center.
“UCHealth is focused on providing an excellent experience for our patients, and this includes increasing transparency in the insurance and billing process,” said UCHealth President and CEO Elizabeth Concordia. “This innovative service helps patients understand and plan for their out-of-pocket expenses for health care.”
Until now, accurate estimates have been difficult for hospitals to provide because a patient’s out-of-pocket responsibility depends on their insurance plan details as well as how much of their deductible and out-of-pocket maximum they have reached, information only the insurance company and patient have. A patient with a $5000 high-deductible insurance plan would have a dramatically different responsibility than a patient with a low deductible or someone who had already reached their out-of-pocket maximum.
UCHealth is now able to immediately connect with an insurance plan, confirm a patient’s insurance information, and even identify how much of their deductible and out-of-pocket maximum the patient has already met during their plan year. The patient then can select from multiple UCHealth locations and services to compare costs and receive an estimate. Services include MRIs, CT scans, deliveries, orthopedic surgeries, cataract removal and more.
“Businesses and insurance companies have been using high-deductible insurance plans to shift more health care costs onto consumers,” said UCHealth Chief Financial Officer Dan Rieber. “This estimates tool gives patients the power to make informed health care choices, and it also can help guide patients as they select an insurance plan that’s right for them.”
Current patients can login online to UCHealth’s My Health Connection portal or through the UCHealth mobile app to access estimates. New patients, or those without a My Health Connection account, can create an account. Estimates for additional locations and services are available by speaking with a patient estimates representative. Patients also can access other services through the mobile app and My Health Connection including accessing test results, messaging doctors, making appointments, conducting a virtual visit, refilling prescriptions and tracking other health care info.
“UCHealth has already been recognized nationally for our advanced electronic medical record and services for patients, including being named a Most Wired health care organization,” said UCHealth Chief Information Officer Steve Hess. “Patient estimates are yet another way we’re helping our patients and giving them the tools to improve their health.”
Visit UCHealth’s billing and pricing information page for more information and to view a video that helps to explain the process. Estimates for more than 150 services are available now, and more are being added regularly. Federal regulations prevent independent providers from sharing their contracted rates with hospitals, so doctors’ professional fees are not included in the estimates.