CMS Transparency Requirement
Effective January 1,2019 The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, has made it a requirement for hospitals to make available a list of their current standard charges to the public, via the internet and in a machine-readable format. BAMC is meeting this requirement by publishing our Chargemaster on-line.
A chargemaster is a comprehensive list of charges for each inpatient and outpatient service provided by a hospital – each test, exam, surgery or other procedures, room charges, etc. Our chargemaster contains thousands of services and charges.
Although BAMC is making this information available, it is important to realize that charges are different from payments. Chargemaster information is not particularly helpful for patients to estimate what health care services are going to cost them out of their own pocket.
The chargemaster amounts are billed to an insurance company, Medicare, or Medicaid, and those insurers then apply their contracted rates to the services that are billed. In situations where a patient does not have insurance, our hospital has financial assistance policies that apply discounts to the amounts charged.
Each hospital has different proportions of Medicare, Medicaid, commercial Insurance or uninsured patients, which adds to the complicated nature of hospital billing.
Every insurer pays the hospital differently. Medicare and Medicaid generally pay less than the actual cost of caring for patients.
There are also patients who, unfortunately, can’t pay their hospital bills. As our Community’s health care safety net, BAMC treats uninsured and underinsured patients every day.
For a more detailed explanation of what a chargemaster is and its limitation for calculating your actual costs, please see this FAQ.
For information that would help you estimate the cost of your care or the amount you might owe for your care, please contact our patient access staff at 715.735.4202 or toll-free at 888.788.2070, ext. 4202.