In a small room stuffed with cubicles at Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines, a team of patient advocates answers phones, enters data, and determines who is eligible for financial assistance.
When a patient at Mercy is faced with a hospital bill they can’t pay, they come here. Team leader Karla Vaquerano-Serio says many times, it’s only a matter of helping a patient sign up for a federal program they didn’t realize they qualified for.
A trip to the emergency room is expensive, even for more routine procedures. Take for example, Ron Smith, an Indianola resident whose $24,240 bill for a rabies vaccination was negotiated down by $17,627 by his insurance company.
Today, the third installment in our examination of hospital costs. We find out how insurance negotiations play into how much you pay for that ER visit, how Iowa’s insurance landscape may change through the Affordable Care Act, and how the number of visits to the ER may be affected by Obamacare.
In the emergency room, the last thing you want to think about is what your bill is going to look like. But, weeks later you will receive a bill in the mail; and you might experience some sticker shock.
Today on River to River, we seek to answer your hospital billing questions. Questions like: why does an aspirin cost upwards of $15, when I can get a generic bottle at the drug store at 2 cents a pop?