We’ve all been there, the uncertain feeling in your stomach as you see a bill in the mail from a surgery you just had. You might hold your breath as you open it and scan to the total amount due because you never really thought about how much it would actually cost.
Between coverage benefits, deductibles, out-of-pocket expenses, and all the other moving pieces that make up health care insurance, it’s no wonder many people go into a surgery not truly knowing how much it may cost. That’s why the role of a patient advocate is so important at OSMS.
What is a patient advocate?
If you look up the word advocate, you’ll find a definition similar to: One who supports or promotes the interests of a cause or group (Merriam-Webster online dictionary). You may also find words like defend or guide.
At the core, this is exactly what the OSMS patient advocates do. They support patients through the confusing and ever-changing maze of health care insurance benefits, acting on the patient’s behalf, and providing guidance along the way with care and sensitivity.
Patients are connected with an OSMS patient advocate if they schedule a surgery or infusion therapy with an OSMS physician. As soon as a procedure is authorized, the patient advocates determine if any out-of-pocket expenses will remain after insurance benefits are applied. For all those who will be responsible for out-of-pocket costs, the patient advocates will:
- Help them understand their insurance benefits.
- Discuss the out-of-pocket expenses they will be responsible for paying.
- Ensure they understand all the financial resources available to them.
- Discuss the possibility of a down payment or other potential payment options.
“Ultimately, we want to provide our patients with the knowledge and confidence that they are making good financial decisions regarding their health care,” says Marilee, one of the OSMS patient advocates.
Jean, another OSMS patient advocate adds, “We want to help our patients avoid the feeling of having hidden surprises after their surgeries are over, and instead, focus on getting back to the lives they love.”