Patient & Visitor Information
Whether you are visiting Highlands Medical Center for a procedure or to see a friend or family member, we want your stay to be as pleasant as possible. Review the resources below to prepare you for your time with us. For our patients, the HMC My Health Portal provides you access to your health information online at any time.
Patient Information and Visitor Guide
My Health Portal
It is very important that you have your insurance identification cards with you when you are admitted to Highlands Medical Center. This enables us to provide proper billing, verify insurance benefits promptly and obtain pre-approval for patients before receiving services.
You will be asked upon admission to pay any insurance co-pay, deductible or co-insurances not covered by your insurance. As a courtesy to you, the hospital will bill your insurance company. If your insurance company requests additional information from you, please respond as soon as possible. A delay in returning the requested information will also delay payment to your account.
Please keep in mind that (with the exception of HMOs) your hospitalization coverage is a contract between you and your insurance company, and we will cooperate to the fullest in expediting your claim. You are ultimately responsible for your account.
Your hospital bill does not include fees for the professional services of your physician, surgeon, anesthesiologist, radiologist, pathologist, consulting physicians and emergency room physicians. You will receive separate billings for services provided by these specialists.
If you do not have insurance coverage, you must make a deposit prior to your admission (non-emergency) and have satisfactory arrangements made for payment of any balance due. The hospital accepts cash, check, money order, MasterCard, Visa, Discover for prepayments and the estimated portion of your bill which is due on admission.
We will be happy to answer any questions you may have concerning your financial arrangements. Call our billing office at 256.218.3780 between the hours of 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Finance and Insurance Information
For many patients and their families, a visit includes filling out unfamiliar forms and answering financial and insurance questions. The information below and the phone numbers that follow can help with this process.
Highlands Medical Center will honor assignments of insurance benefits for 45 days from the date of billing to the insurance company. If, at the end of 45 days, the insurance company has not settled the account, Highlands Medical Center will look to the patient for the final settlement of the account.
Any patient having inadequate insurance coverage, or no insurance coverage, will be requested to make appropriate deposits or payment arrangements at the time of admission.
Highlands Medical Center accepts all patients in need of urgent medical care, regardless of their ability to pay. If you anticipate difficulty concerning the financing of your hospital stay, you are urged to contact our Financial Counselor at 256.218.3780 for financial counseling prior to or during admission. Your insurance policy is a contract between you and your insurance company. We will cooperate to the fullest in filing your claim; but, remember, you are responsible for your account. Your hospital bill does not include your physician’s fees or the fees of certain specialists, such as anesthesiologist, radiologists, or the fees of consulting physicians.
Before you leave the hospital, an order for your dismissal must be written by your physician. Your nurse may refer you to our Financial Counselor so that you will be properly cleared to go home.
The amount of your bill at time of discharge may not be complete, as some tests and services given on the last day of hospitalization may not be added to your account by the time you leave the hospital. Highlands Medical Center participates in the Medicare and Medicaid programs and adheres to all of the applicable regulations.
Financial Assistance Programs
Charity Care Assistance Program
Highlands Medical Center’s Financial Assistance Program (Charity Care Assistance) is available to qualified individuals based on financial need who are uninsured or underinsured. Financial assistance and reduced charge care are available only for necessary hospital care. Some services such as physician fees, anesthesiology fees, radiology interpretation, and outpatient prescriptions are separate from hospital charges and any charity assistance is determined by the provider of those services.
Medicaid Eligibility Program
All Financial Assistance applicants must be screened for other potential payment sources prior to submitting an application for the program being deemed complete for consideration. This screening will determine the potential eligibility for any third party insurance benefits or medical assistance programs that might pay all or some of the amount due the hospital.
Patients may not be eligible for the hospital financial assistance program until they are determined to be ineligible for any other medical assistance programs, at the discretion of hospital management.
Patients are responsible to obtain a financial screening from the hospital in a timely manner. Usually, a patient must apply for Medicaid within 3 months from the date of hospital services.
Once the hospital has informed the patient about medical assistance and/or makes the referral properly, if the patient fails to cooperate or does not go for screening in a timely manner, the hospital has the option to bill the patient and pursue collection efforts, regardless of eligibility for hospital care payment assistance.
To obtain a screening, please call our Medicaid Specialist at 256.218.3780.
Low Income Assistance Program
The patient must apply for financial assistance at the time of admission or within 90 days after discharge. If a prospective patient is seeking financial assistance for an upcoming procedure which he/she plans to obtain, the patient must be screened to determine if there are other sources that will potentially pay all or a significant portion of the patient’s bill. If no payment source is determined, the patient’s application can be reviewed for Financial Assistance eligibility hospital management. Only fully completed applications will be considered.
The patient or responsible party must answer questions related to his/her income and assets, as well as provide documentation of the income and assets.
The hospital will make a determination of whether the patient is eligible as soon as possible, but no more than ten working days from the time a complete application is submitted. If the request does not include adequate documentation to make a determination, the request shall be denied and additional documentation needs identified for the patient to follow up upon. The patient will then be allowed to present additional documentation to the hospital. The applicant has up to 90 days from the date of service to apply for hospital assistance and provide the hospital with a completed application.
Highlands Medical Center customer service representative is available to assist with any questions or concerns. Please call the switchboard at 256.259.4444 and ask for a Patient Representative.
We encourage patients to find out as much as they can about the cost of care before coming to the hospital. The price you pay for healthcare services depends on your insurance coverage. You may talk with your insurance provider or a representative from Medicare or Medicaid to determine any deductibles, co-payments or other out-of-pocket costs.
Highlands medical Center complies with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services which requires all hospitals to post their standard charges online.
Please note that these listed dollar amounts are the gross standard charges to provide a particular service, supply or drug. These amounts do not relfect what the hospital is paid or what patients will ultimately pay.
Actual hospital payments received for providing these services are set by eitehr the government or by negotiatiosn with private insurance companies. These payments are typically less than the standard charger for caring for our patients.
Requests for specific prices estimates and patient out-of-pocket cost estimates should be directed to Admissions at 256.218.3778 or 256.218.3800.