When patients are faced with large medical bills, especially those resulting from an emergency, it may feel impossible to handle. In some cases, patients may not even be aware that financial assistance exists. At Advocate Aurora, their mission is to help people live well—from physical and emotional health to financial health as well.
Financial health means understanding the cost of health care services, and having access to the plans, programs, and financial assistance options that are right for the patient. Advocate Aurora Health’s financial assistance program provides discounts to patients (up to 100 percent of hospital charges) for those who meet financial eligibility guidelines.
Advocate Aurora prides itself on assisting individuals in need, and all patients are encouraged to seek information from their hospital's financial advocate if they anticipate difficulty paying their portion of the hospital bill. The advocates make every effort to seek out patients who are uninsured, underinsured or may face other financial challenges associated with paying for the health care services. Not only do the advocates walk patients through the entire application process, but they also assist patients with applying for available government programs and worker’s compensation or liability claims.
One example of the great work their financial advocates do comes from one patient’s story: A financial advocate supporting Aurora Sinai Medical Center received a call from a nurse regarding a Spanish-speaking patient with a serious chronic kidney disease who was experiencing severe symptoms that required emergency interventions. However, the patient was hesitant to consent to care as he was uninsured and unable to afford the cost of care.
The financial advocate worked with an interpreter to complete a financial assessment; at which time the financial advocate also learned the patient was undocumented. The financial advocate asssured the patient his identity is safe and that being undocumented did not make him ineligible to apply for financial assistance. Following the assessment completion, the financial advocate was able to approve the patient for a 100% discount on the care he needed through the Advocate Aurora Patient Financial Assistance Program.