Essentia Health is expanding pre-service estimates for all scheduled surgical services in an effort to be more transparent about healthcare costs and to help patients make informed decisions.
Essentia will provide an estimate of any deductible and reimbursable charges based on a patient’s insurance plan. The program began on May 3 and is an extension of Essentia’s membership of the Patient Estimates Transparency Initiative, which began providing estimates to radiology departments in December.
Estimates are based on historical services billed by Essentia. To ensure accuracy, Essentia providers will communicate specific scheduled procedures and surgeries in advance, and patients will receive price estimate communications once their procedure has been scheduled. Informing patients in advance helps eliminate unplanned bills and allows Essentia to proactively communicate options to make healthcare more affordable.
“Patients deserve to know before their delivery what their insurance plan will cover and what their insurance will charge them,” Melanie Wilson, vice president of tax services at Essentia, said in a statement.
Communication sent with patient estimates will notify them of interest-free payment plans, financial aid, free Medicaid enrollment services and more. Essentia’s financial advisory teams are available to assist patients with these options.
“It offers peace of mind and ensures that coverage is verified, costs are discussed and payment terms are made up front,” Wilson said.