Vanderbilt patients get immediate cost estimates

Vanderbilt University Medical Center launched an online tool that immediately calculates out-of-pocket costs for procedures, the Nashville, Tenn.-based hospital said Aug. 4.

Heather Dunn, vice president for VUMC revenue cycle services, said the technology allows patients to understand their costs and insurance benefits upfront. 

How it works: Patients enter the services they want estimates for, and those with insurance enter the member and group numbers from their insurance card. The tool then retrieves benefit information from the insurer. Estimates can be provided for some outpatient services, and inpatient and outpatient surgical procedures and radiology services.  

"While we may be saying to a patient, 'It's going to be $1,400 for you to come here for your procedure,' we can also say, 'If you need help to understand the estimate, we can refer you to our financial counselors for assistance,''' Ms. Dunn said. 

Read more here.

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