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Hospital Bill Confusion: what resources are available

Chances are you’ve received a hospital bill and you weren’t so sure what some of the charges meant. Maybe you received an estimate for a surgery and ended up being thousands of dollars more. The challenging part to figuring out the question of how much an estimate costs can be boiled down to a few simple words for Jennifer Gohl, Patient Access Manager at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center (EIRMC), “there’s just too many variables”.

Estimates with healthcare are confusing. Whether it’s an emergency room visit, a surgery, a baby delivery- the costs vary constantly especially with insurance providers and what the benefits for insurance plans might be. When consumers go to a hospital, the first piece of advice Gohl gave Local News 8 and KIDK Eyewitness News is to check with your insurance provider.

It could seem obvious, but there are many unknowns before a patient enters an operation room “I can give you an example, if you were to call in and ask for an estimate for a delivery if you were going to have a baby and we gave you an estimate and then you came in and you ended up having an emergency C-section, your price would vary, ” said Gohl.

Gohl added that the unexpected nature of surgical procedures is what can drive the cost up in the end.

Often times when patients receive a bill they will not get an itemized list of the charges- this is something that patients can ask for. EIRMC encourages patients to use their financial counselors on staff to answer questions. Many local hospitals in eastern Idaho will work to make things simple in the finance process. To get a better understanding of the resources available to patients at EIRMC, click here.

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