UCHealth reminds public about its billing process and financial assistance available for patients

Feb. 13, 2024
UCHealth has an extensive process to help patients navigate hospital billing and apply for financial assistance if needed.
UCHealth has an extensive process to help patients navigate hospital billing and apply for financial assistance if needed. Photo: Getty Images.

UCHealth is reminding patients about its extensive process to help patients navigate hospital billing and apply for financial assistance if needed. Resources are always available on the UCHealth website and in the UCHealth patient app.

UCHealth offers many options to both insured and uninsured patients including financial assistance, discounts, financial counselors, social workers and zero-interest payment plans. High-deductible insurance plans have increased patients’ out-of-pocket costs, and we recognize these plans can cause financial difficulty for some patients.

“UCHealth sees all patients, and we believe everyone deserves access to high-quality care,” said Dr. Margaret Reidy, UCHealth chief medical officer. “We are seeing increasing numbers of uninsured patients as many patients find themselves dropped from Medicaid coverage, and growing numbers of uninsured migrant patients are coming to our hospitals. We encourage everyone to work with our social workers, financial counselors and customer service teams so we can help them through the billing process.”

Sending a bill to a collections agency and potentially sending an unpaid bill through a court process are last resorts, used when someone does not respond to more than a dozen offers of financial assistance, billing statements and phone calls. For unresponsive patients, UCHealth also uses publicly available information like Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) applications to screen for anyone who might be eligible for financial assistance.

“We strive to provide excellent customer service and financial assistance, and we never want a medical bill to cause undue stress to a patient. We ask patients to partner with us and allow us to help with both their medical and financial needs. But reimbursements for our services are important because they allow us to provide medical care for all and to support our health care workers. It wouldn’t be fair to those patients who pay their bills or complete the financial assistance process to allow others to simply ignore their bills,” said Manny Rodriguez, UCHealth chief marketing, experience and customer officer.

UCHealth supports legislative efforts to improve Colorado’s Hospital Discounted Care program. Currently, patients are not required to apply for Medicaid, CICP or other assistance programs even if they are determined to be eligible. A bill introduced in the state legislature, Senate Bill 24-116, would encourage patients to apply for these programs, enabling hospitals to ensure continuity of care, help patients secure ongoing coverage and help them avoid being solely responsible for their bills.

Of course, billing mistakes may happen. UCHealth provides care for 2.7 million patients each year. If a patient suspects an error or has questions about their bill, they should contact UCHealth’s customer service team.

UCHealth developed a chart that shows the billing outreach process including seven financial assistance screening letters, four statements, presumptive eligibility screening and at least two phone calls that UCHealth uses to contact patients. This process is for uninsured patients and those who opt in to Hospital Discounted Care (HDC). Patients who have insurance or opt out of HDC have a similar process but without the HDC financial assistance letters. UCHealth provides care for almost 3 million people each year, and 99.93% of all accounts are resolved without involvement of a court as patients either pay their bills in full or receive financial assistance.