First Hospital in Region to Offer Patients Cost Estimates in Advance
St. Clair Hospital today introduced a cost transparency tool available through a patient-friendly portal on the Hospital’s website, stclair.org. Patients now have the ability to learn, in advance, what their estimated out-of-pocket cost will be for services at the Hospital or its Outpatient centers.
St. Clair is the first hospital in the region to implement Patient Estimates, a product developed by Experian Health. Patient Estimates is designed to help insured, and uninsured, patients get clear, real-time, easy-to-understand cost estimates of St. Clair’s services so patients can make informed decisions about their care.
The tool is not a list of charges, but an interactive and user-friendly tool that provides information that is highly specific to the individual. Estimates are designed to determine, in advance, each patient’s out-of-pocket costs (deductibles, co-pays, and co-insurance) for services at St. Clair based upon his/her insurance coverage. The estimates also incorporate St. Clair’s discounts for payment on the date of service and for those without insurance. The estimates remain in the system and can be recalled for future reference.
Patient Estimates is simple to use and is conveniently available 24/7 at stclair.org. On the home page, patients select the “Financial Tools” option, then click on Patient Estimates. They then enter their health insurance information before choosing from the drop-down menu one of the 100+ listed clinical services (e.g., a procedure, treatment or diagnostic test). The tool then provides a customized estimate of their out-of-pocket expenses.
“St. Clair is committed to being a leader in high-value healthcare,” said Richard C. Chesnos, Senior Vice President & Chief Financial Officer. “In addition to our award-winning patient safety and clinical outcomes, and nation-leading patient satisfaction, St. Clair provides very cost-effective services, and we want our patients to feel secure knowing, upfront, how much their care will cost them.”
Traditionally, patients have not had access to cost information prior to their medical procedures. Today, healthcare cost transparency is a growing trend in several regions across the country, and has become law in at least one state. In Pennsylvania, healthcare cost transparency is not yet required, but the Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP) requires all member facilities to pledge to educate patients and provide information when requested so they can make informed decisions. The goal of transparency efforts among Pennsylvania’s hospitals and health systems is to eliminate surprises and help consumers navigate a complex billing system that involves many parties, including insurance companies, physician practices, hospitals, employers, and government entities.
For more on Patient Estimates, please visit stclair.org.