Charges and Prices
Altru Health System complies with the various rules and regulations prescribed by third party payers (Medicare, Medicaid, Blue Cross, etc.) regarding charging for services In this policy, “Charges” refer to the amount billed to all patients for the same services. “Prices” refer to the amounts paid by patients and third party payers for those services. Due to contractual obligations and individual situations, the prices paid are most often less than the amounts charged.
Charging transparency is important so that patients can determine what amounts are charged for the services delivered. Staff are available to provide estimates of charges for services so that patients can understand their financial obligation. At Altru information is available so that patients know who to contact for these estimates. Also, patients can go to their “MyHealth” online access and send a message to Altru via the “Ask Customer Service” under the “Messaging” tab. Patients can also contact the HERO (Healthcare Eligibility Resource Options) staff by phone at 701.780.5060 for charging and pricing assistance.
It is the overall policy of Altru Health System to provide quality services to patients at the most reasonable cost. Our charges to patients are maintained at competitive levels and managed by considering the types of reimbursement formulas we are faced with, our need for working capital and our short and long range plans concerning equipment, building, capital, etc. It is our intent to develop and maintain a management reporting system that will report on the relationship of total cost, including direct and indirect expenses to all income centers. Furthermore, all charges to patients will be maintained at levels which are competitive with our region of the country.
Charges will be adjusted periodically, with the overall goal in mind to:
1. Be priced at or near the Upper Midwest median.
2. Be competitive with providers in the Upper Midwest.
3. Be proactive regarding reimbursement policies and contracts with major payers.
With payment by diagnosis, risk sharing, and capitation covering a higher percent of our patients, each income center can be thought of as an expense center. Although unit charging in each department is done for an appropriately weighted contribution to cost, an increased emphasis is placed on the appropriate amount of services for each patient to ensure quality care. It is the responsibility of each team to understand these charging implications in order to ensure quality of care at a reasonable cost. At the same time, we must keep our charges adequate to cover our costs in order to administer fair charge setting. When adjustments in charges are necessary to meet competition or to optimally improve market share, the Budget/Reimbursement Manager and appropriate Department Manager will model these charges and costs in order to determine the measurement of resources utilized for each patient and diagnosis.
Evaluations of charging will be conducted on an ongoing basis to ensure that the services rendered are economical for both the patient and Altru Health System.
Altru Health System is pleased to provide good faith estimates to our patients prior to services. Estimates are based on the average total charges of the expected procedure and do not include any unforeseen complications or additional tests or procedures. The estimate is not a guarantee of what will be billed. A final bill for actual services provided will be generated following completion of all items necessary for billing and Altru Health System is not liable or responsible for variances between the estimate and actual fees.
Please contact Altru Health System at 701.780.6200 for Patient Price Estimates.
The following information is necessary to provide the most accurate estimate possible:
- The specific procedure/service. Please include CPT procedure code when possible.
- Expected date of service.
- Insurance information, if applicable.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why are there charges on my statement for a provider I did not see?
There are providers that assist with your medical care even though you do not see them. These providers commonly read lab results, x-rays, and EKGs, just to name a few.
I was in the hospital overnight, but my charges are outpatient charges. Is the billing correct?
There are times when patients can be admitted to the hospital and placed under Observation by their provider. This gives the provider more time to monitor the patient’s condition, and it is considered to be outpatient services.
If you stayed in the hospital overnight, but the charges are outpatient charges, it is more than likely that you were placed under observation and that your condition didn’t qualify as an inpatient stay.
What is the process to update my insurance information?
If you are coming to Altru Health System for an appointment, you will need to bring your insurance card, and update your information at the time of the visit.
If you are not coming in for an appointment, you can call the Altru Health System Business Office at 701.780.1500 to give your insurance information.
How will I know that my insurance has been billed for my services?
If you gave the correct insurance information at the time of, or before your visit, it should go to your insurance company. If you are questioning whether or not it did, you can contact a customer service representative at 701.780.1500.
Why did my insurance not cover my preventative exam 100%?
Sometimes when patients come in for preventative services, an underlying health issue is discovered. When that happens the visit now becomes a medical visit and not preventative due to the patient being treated for the new condition.
What is an authorization/pre-authorization?
Your insurance carrier may require you to contact them to make sure that a procedure or service you are having done is medically necessary before they will authorize it or pay for it.
My insurance company said that my office visit was coded wrong. Can the coding be changed?
Coding is based on the service provided and the reason that service was needed which is learned by reading the provider’s documentation of the visit. The insurance company does not, typically, have access to the provider’s documentation of the visit. When an insurance company says it was coded wrong, they mean your policy does not cover the code that is assigned. We have certified coders who have a very strong understanding of the state and federal coding rules and regulations. They use their knowledge to choose the most appropriate codes for the service that was provided based on the documentation. They are held to strict rules that do not allow them to code “for payment” and, in fact, can be penalized for doing that.
We are happy to review the documentation to verify the coding was done correctly, but we cannot make any changes based on what the insurance company would pay.
Will I still be seen if I do not have insurance?
We will always provide emergency services regardless of your insured status. For elective services, we may ask you to work with us to ensure you don’t receive a bill that you aren’t able to resolve after care is provided.
We have Financial Counselors that can help you through this process that can be reached at 701.780.5060.
Do you offer discounts to people who do not have insurance?
We offer a 10% discount for uninsured patients if the balance is paid within 30 days of the visit.
Please contact our Business Office at 701.780.1500 to make payment and receive the discount.
Why was my payment divided up among different visits?
When someone makes a payment, we apply it to the oldest account first. If the payment was more than the balance left on that account, it will be applied to the next oldest account. This can result in payments being distributed to multiple accounts.
Do you offer discounts for paying the bill in full?
We offer a 10% discount to uninsured patients if the balance is paid within 30 days of the visit. Our insured patients get the benefit of a discounted rate that is negotiated between Altru Health System and their insurance provider. This is called an allowed amount and is posted to the account as an insurance discount. The balance left as patient responsibility after insurance is processed is not eligible for additional discounts.
When is my payment due?
Your payment is due in full at the time of services or upon receipt of your statement.
If you need assistance in resolving your balance, please contact the Altru Business Office at 701.780.1500.
Are payment plans available for accounts with large balances?
We realize that medical bills can be unexpected and overwhelming. We welcome the opportunity to work with you on your individual needs and do have financial assistance that includes payment plan options.
Contact a patient account representative at 701.780.1500.
What will happen if my account becomes past due?
Payment of your account is due in full at the time of service or upon receipt of your statement. We realize that medical bills can be unexpected and are difficult to resolve in full.
If you are having trouble paying your bill, please contact our Business Office at 701.780.1500. If the balance is not resolved in an acceptable manner it may be forwarded to a collection agency, so please contact us so we can assist in resolving the balance.
Can I receive an estimate for a procedure I have coming up?
Yes, we are happy to provide good faith estimates prior to services to help you make informed decisions about your care.
You may contact our Business Office at 701.780.1500 for assistance.
How often will I receive a statement from Altru?
If you have been approved for a payment plan on your account, you will receive a statement every 28 days.
Whom can I contact for questions on my bill?
You may contact the Altru Business Office and speak with a customer service representative by calling 701.780.1500.
What payment methods does Altru accept?
We accept cash, check, and most major credit cards.
Can I pay my bill online?
Yes! MyHealth is an online patient portal that gives you access to pay on your outstanding balance as well as communicate with your doctor, request prescription refills, access your test results, manage your appointments and more!
You can sign up for an account or access an existing account at MyHealth.