Accessing Care at the Hospital
Before leaving for the hospital: Take your
- Insurance card
- Cell phone and cord
- A friend (they can meet you at the hospital)
- Name of pharmacy that takes your insurance
If possible, check your insurance plan, you may need prior approval from your insurance company before they agree to pay the claim. Call in advance if you are able.
When you arrive at the hospital: If you do not have your insurance card with you, contact a family member who may be able to assist. For assistance with Willamette insurance, call Bishop Wellness Center (503)370-6062. You can provide insurance information to the hospital at a later date if needed.
When you see the doctor: To ensure the best treatment, share your presenting issue and any additional medical conditions (i.e. asthma, diabetes), allergies, medications you take, (e.g., birth control, herbal supplements) over the counter medications you took today, or any substances you have used. Anything you tell the provider is confidential.
Medical/Mental health assessment: However you arrived at the hospital, capitalize on your time in the hospital to heal, gain information, and learn how to enhance your well-being. Information related to your stay is confidential and part of your medical record at the hospital. The hospital cannot consult with Bishop Wellness Center or anyone without your signed release at the hospital. A signed release to Student Affairs or Bishop Wellness Center can assist you in your return to campus, coordinate any after care needs, or communicate with faculty as needed.
When you are discharged: If the doctor recommends medication, make sure you are given a prescription. If you cannot get the prescription filled immediately, ask if they can provide enough medication to last until you can get the prescription filled.
How to get back to school: You can contact a friend or family member for assistance, or if you are at Salem Hospital, you can contact Campus Safety at (503)370-6911 for a transport back to campus. If you are at another facility, you can contact Yellow Cab 503-362-2411 or Amanda’s Taxi (503) 559-2200 and show them your Student ID and your student account will be billed for the fare.
Accessing Primary or Specialty Care Off Campus
Familiarize yourself with your insurance coverage by accessing the website on the back of your insurance card. There will also be 1-800 number that you can call to speak with a customer service representative for your insurance company. Specifically, determine:
Is there a deductible to meet? A deductible is an amount that you will need to pay before your insurance company starts paying their portion of the cost. If so, you will want to know: How much is the deductible, and How much has been met to date?
What is my co-pay or co-insurance? A co-pay is the financial amount that you will be responsible for paying at each appointment. Your insurance company may provide you with an actual dollar amount (e.g., your co-pay is $35 per appointment); OR they may tell you the percentage that they will pay for each visit, in which case your co-insurance is the remaining portion you are responsible for (e.g., you insurance pays 80% and your co-insurance is 20%).
2. Access the website listed on the back of your insurance card and be prepared to input your Insurance ID Number (located on the front of your card), your birthdate, and your home address.
3. There will be a “Find a Provider” or “Doc Find” link embedded. Narrow the search criteria to the area of interest (Primary care, specialty care, dermatology, etc.), and the geographical area; usually a zip code or a specific mile radius from Salem. This will provide a list of “Preferred Providers”
4. Start calling the “Preferred Providers” listed to see if they are taking new patients. If so, ask for an initial appointment to establish care. Be prepared to make a few calls and expect a wait time for an initial appointment.
Important Terms to Understand
Co-pay: One of the ways you share in your medical costs. You pay a flat fee for certain medical expenses (e.g., $25 for every visit to the doctor), while your insurance company pays the rest.
Deductible: The amount of money you must pay each year to cover eligible medical expenses before your insurance policy starts paying.
Co-insurance: The amount you pay to share the cost of covered services after your deductible has been paid. The coinsurance rate is usually a percentage. For example, if the insurance company pays 80% of the claim, you pay 20%.
Health maintenance organization (HMO): A health care financing and delivery system that provides comprehensive health care services for enrollees in a particular geographic area. HMOs require the use of specific, in-network plan providers.
In-network (sometimes called “Preferred”) Provider: A health care professional, hospital, or pharmacy that is part of a health plan’s network of preferred providers. You will generally pay less for services received from in-network providers because they have negotiated a discount for their services in exchange for the insurance company sending more patients their way.
Out of Network (sometimes called “Non-Preferred”) Provider: A health care professional, hospital, or pharmacy that is not part of a health plan's network of preferred providers. You will generally pay more for services received from out-of-network providers.
Out-of-pocket maximum—the most money you will pay during a year for coverage. It includes deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance, but is in addition to your regular premiums. Beyond this amount, the insurance company will pay all expenses for the remainder of the year.
Preferred provider organization (PPO): A health insurance plan that offers greater freedom of choice than HMO (health maintenance organization) plans. Members of PPOs are free to receive care from both in-network or out-of-network (non-preferred) providers, but will receive the highest level of benefits when they use providers inside the network.
Premium: The amount you pay each month or year in exchange for insurance coverage.