Federal law guarantees that you have access to emergency care at hospitals, even if you can’t pay for the care. If you do have health insurance or you can afford to pay for your care, you will have the responsibility to pay your share of the cost of your care.
Due to the sudden and unpredictable nature of emergencies, the hospital will likely not be able to provide an estimate of the cost of care before stabilizing the patient. However, the hospital is committed to providing you with information about the cost of care. If you have questions, please ask to speak with a financial counselor before leaving the Emergency Department.
If You Are Uninsured.
This hospital is committed to providing medically necessary care to anyone, regardless of their ability to pay. Depending upon your financial situation, the hospital may waive some or all of the costs of your care. Please ask to speak to a financial counselor and ask to see the hospital’s financial assistance policy or charity care policy. [22 MRSA §1716.]
If you have health insurance, your insurance company may or may not have a contract with this hospital. If they do, this hospital is considered “in-network”; if not, this hospital is “out-of-network.”
If this hospital is “in-network,” your health insurance company and this hospital have an agreement about what services should cost. Also, any share of those costs for which you are responsible will be part of the co-pays and deductibles.
However, if this hospital is “out-of-network,” your health insurance company will require you to pay out-of-pocket a greater share of the cost of your care. Review your health insurance contract and speak with your health insurance company if you have questions about your network.
Under the law, treatment for emergency care by out-of-network hospitals must be treated by the health insurance company as if it were in-network. Meaning, your co-payments and coinsurance may not be higher just because you go to an out-of-network hospital.
Third-party Providers of Care.
For some procedures in the hospital, not all of the medical professionals involved in your care are employees of the hospital. For example, some of doctors who perform surgery, some of the radiologists who read x-rays and some of the anesthesiologists are not employed by the hospital where you are receiving care.
These independent medical professionals are considered “third-party providers.” Accordingly, they may send you separate bills for the services they provide to you while you are at the hospital. If you would like to know about the prices of their services, please contact these providers.
If you are unsure of whether your care involves third-party providers, ask the hospital. The hospital will provide you with contact information for any third-party providers involved in your care. [22 MRSA §1718.]