This team helps patients who either don’t have insurance or don’t have enough insurance to pay for the care they need to get well. These patients often don’t know where to turn for financial assistance and are sometimes overwhelmed with the situations they are facing.
The Eligibility Counseling team steps up to help patients find the resources needed to navigate the healthcare system, no matter where they are in the healthcare process. Patients can speak with Eligibility Counseling before they receive care, while they receive care, or after they receive care to find payment options.
Terri Otten, Revenue Cycle Organization Manager in Intermountain’s South Region, says, “Intermountain is committed to giving every patient the same level of care regardless of their ability to pay. Although our first obligation is to our patients, we also have a responsibility to protect Intermountain’s interests and find funding solutions for the care we give.”
With that in mind, Terri and her team of counselors do their best to find creative ways to help patients. According to Terri the first step is to determine if uninsured and underinsured patients can be placed on a payment plan. If that’s possible, Intermountain discounts the cost of care by 40 percent. If patients are not able to pay out of pocket, the counselors begin a detailed screening process to discover which (if any) financial aid programs are available to the patient. “In most cases the patient isn’t aware of the number of programs available to help them. There are so many different avenues they may not think of,” says Terri. Some of the programs the Eligibility team explores include:
- Military coverage
- Parental insurance
- Crime victim compensation
- Insurance through the Affordable Care Act
If all of these options are exhausted, Intermountain will often step in and offer financial assistance. In fact, as a system Intermountain donates approximately $1 million dollars in healthcare every day to meet the needs of patients in our communities.
“When a patient knows they have a financial advocate on their side, they can feel at ease and focus on healing,” says Terri. “We can help reduce or eliminate the stress a patient feels when he or she doesn’t know how they will pay for care.”