Emergency Patients to Make Copayments

Great River Medical Center follows national trend

Great River Medical Center will begin requesting copayments and co-insurance payments in the Emergency Department Thursday, Feb. 1. The practice has been standard at other hospitals throughout the U.S. for more than five years.

Patients who come to the Emergency Department will not be denied care.

“We will not ask for payment information until patients are screened and receive stabilization treatment,” said Michael McCoy, MD, chief medical officer, Great River Health Systems. “Patient care is our greatest concern.”

Collecting copayments in the Emergency Department will help ensure financial stability as Great River Health faces reduced reimbursements for care and increasing costs. This is not a change in payment requirements. The difference is that part of the payment is being requested at the time of discharge from the Emergency Department.

Insurance plans have different requirements.

Patients who are enrolled in Medicare or two insurance plans (primary and secondary) will not be asked for payment.

Some Medicaid plans and many commercial insurance companies, such as Blue Cross Blue Shield and United HealthCare, require a copayment – a specific amount patients pay for health care services. Only the amount specified by each plan will be charged.

Other insurance companies require coinsurance payments – a percentage of the total charge. Insurance deductibles and out of pocket expenses also vary with different insurance company plans. For coinsurance payments, Emergency Department patients will be asked to pay a $200 down payment.

Only patients who are not enrolled in any insurance program will be asked to make a $400 down payment for the cost of their care.

Insurance and financial help available.

After treatment, Patient Access staff in the Emergency Department will verify insurance information and request payment, if applicable. If the Emergency Department visit leads to a hospital admission, copayments will not be collected at that time. Cash, check, debit and credit will be accepted. If patients cannot pay immediately after they are treated, they will receive information about ways to receive help for paying for their hospital bill, including financial assistance or a medical loan.

Coverage and copayment or coinsurance information may be on the back of insurance cards. If not, patients should call their insurance providers to learn coverage information. Patients who have questions about insurance coverage may call Patient Financial Services at 319-768-3625, and choose option 2.

All patients will receive bills for the remaining cost of their care that is not covered by insurance.

Choose the right care in the right place.

Choosing the right kind of medical care in the right place is important to reducing health care costs. Emergency Department treatment is for serious illnesses and injuries such as heart attack and stroke symptoms, severe breathing problems and deep cuts. It is the most-expensive level of care.

Basic primary- and walk-in clinic care at Great River Health Systems clinics costs about $150, without tests.

Primary-care clinics should be the first step for medical care and advice. They provide treatments for illnesses like severe colds and flu, earaches and sore throats, and chronic conditions like arthritis, diabetes, COPD and heart disease.

These Great River Health clinics are accepting new patients:

  • Family Medicine, 319-754-4242
  • Family Medicine, Mercy Plaza, 319-768-1570
  • Keokuk, 319-524-6274
  • Medicine Specialists, 319-768-3200
  • Wapello, 888-377-7791

Great River QuickCare, 624 S. Roosevelt Ave., Suite 101, Burlington, provides treatment of sudden illness like severe colds and flu, earaches and sore throats. The walk-in clinic is for patients 18 months and older who don’t have a primary-care provider or those needing extended office hours. Clinic hours are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.