Billing Frequently Asked Questions
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What is the purpose of pre-registration, and why must I go through the process each time if I am a repeat patient?
Pre-registration serves several purposes. It confirms your patient information and identity. This is crucial for all patients, including repeat patients. Pre-registration also verifies your insurance, estimates patient responsibility and is where pre-certification, or procedure authorization, is obtained. It expedites treatment and minimizes the number of questions you’ll be asked the day of service and serves as a reminder of the appointment time.
Why must I provide my Social Security number at registration?
Social Security number verification is required in the identification process. Because each Social Security number is unique, it provides another layer of accuracy for medical records and delivery of safe and effective care. Name, date of birth and other personal information are also needed for accurate patient identification.
If I go through the pre-registration process on the telephone, why must I still go to registration the day of service?
Legal requirements dictate that consent forms must be signed to allow treatment. This also allows us to verify any additional information, including receipt of the physician order, and gives the patient an opportunity to ask additional questions regarding treatment, insurance and billing.
What is the billing process at Tidelands Health?
Review the steps below for basic billing procedures. If you have any questions, please contact the patient financial services office.
The patient receives services at a Tidelands Health hospital.
- Tidelands Waccamaw Community Hospital
- Tidelands Georgetown Memorial Hospital
- Tidelands Waccamaw Rehabilitation Hospital
Based on the insurance information received at time of registration, the Tidelands Health patient financial services office begins billing and collection processes and sends the statement electronically to the insurance provider.
The insurance company determines the payment amount, as well as the patient’s responsibility, and pays the hospital accordingly. The hospital repeats the billing process with secondary insurance if applicable. Once the insurance payment process is complete, the hospital bills the patient.
Delays can occur when the insurance company does not resolve the account balance in a timely manner. Tidelands Health’s patient financial services office follows up with insurance companies that have not paid within 45 days. After 60 days, the patient will receive a bill and letter asking for assistance in resolving the delay with the insurance company. Most frequently, the insurance company needs additional information from the patient before processing the claim. We encourage patients to respond promptly to any insurance inquiry.
Contact the patient financial services office to inquire about financial assistance or payment plan programs.
Additional information to assist with your bills
How can I pay the balance of my bill?
Tidelands Health offers several bill-payment options. Payments can be made with cash or check. We also accept most major credit cards.
Where can I pay my bill?
Payments are accepted at Tidelands Waccamaw Community Hospital, Tidelands Georgetown Memorial Hospital or at the Tidelands Health location where you received your care and treatment.
What if I cannot pay my bill?
If you are unable to pay your bill, please contact the patient financial services office to inquire about financial assistance or payment plans.
Why does so much time elapse between the date of service and when the patient first receives a bill?
Your bill begins its journey through the payment system almost immediately after discharge or receiving services. Multiple steps must be accomplished before initiating a patient’s bill. Insurance providers first must evaluate each claim and issue payment before Tidelands Health can provide an accurate bill showing patient amount due. Some other factors that may contribute to delayed billing are longer length of stay than expected, seriousness of illness or patient treatment. In general, most bills are issued to the primary insurance within five to 10 days. Once the primary insurance pays, the secondary insurance (if applicable) is billed within one to two days after payment is received.
Why do I receive several bills as the result of one hospital encounter?
If you have certain tests or procedures during your hospital service, you may receive multiple bills from other service providers, such as anesthesiologists, pathologists, surgeons, radiologists and/or hospitalists. For instance, if you have surgery that requires pathology services, you will receive a bill for professional interpretation fees from the physician (pathologist) who evaluates the sample, as well as a bill from the hospital for technical services, including OR time and other outpatient or inpatient services. You also will receive a bill from the surgeon and anesthesiologist. Likewise, radiology services (such as mammography) result in a bill from the radiologist for professional interpretation fees, as well as a bill from the hospital for technical service fees.
What will I pay when I come to the emergency department?
Every person who seeks care in the emergency department receives a medical screening exam regardless of ability to pay. We will always conduct this medical screening before discussing payment. Once you have been medically evaluated and it is determined that your condition is not a medical emergency, you will then pay your co-payment, deductible or other financial obligation. If you are insured, the amount you pay will be determined by your insurance plan. If you are not insured, an initial co-payment deposit will be required. Our representatives can also speak with you about self-pay options and financial assistance programs.
Why has my bill been turned over to a collection agency?
Tidelands Waccamaw Community Hospital, Tidelands Georgetown Memorial Hospital and Tidelands Waccamaw Rehabilitation Hospital understand that circumstances may prevent or delay someone from resolving an outstanding balance. When our efforts fail to collect the balance on the account after a reasonable amount of time, we may release old accounts to collection agencies for their help in resolving outstanding balances. This is a reasonable and acceptable business practice within the industry.
What is the best way to contact the patient financial services office?
Tidelands Waccamaw Community Hospital, Tidelands Georgetown Memorial Hospital and Tidelands Waccamaw Rehabilitation Hospital
All insurances - 843-520-8880
Patient Financial Services
P.O. Box 421718
Georgetown, SC 29442
Complete an e-mail Contact Us form.
Does Tidelands Health offer discounts?
Tidelands Health does offer prompt pay discounts to all patients who pay their bill in full within 30 days of notice of personal balance due after insurance payment. Patients choosing self-payment are also eligible for the discount. The federal and state governments do not permit discounts to any beneficiaries of their programs (such as Medicare).
What responsibilities do I have when dealing with my insurance company?
Insurance companies have specific requirements before processing claims and may contact you for coordination of your benefits. They may ask about other insurance you or other family members may have, and they may need to verify your information. Insurance companies often send questionnaires to confirm any changes. Generally, they will not process your claim without your response to their inquiries. Therefore, it is important to respond to your insurance company’s questions in a timely manner to keep the billing process moving forward.
What health insurance plans does Tidelands Health accept or file?
The plans differ by facility and change over time. Please check with the patient financial services office to ensure accuracy.
View a list of insurance plans accepted at Tidelands Waccamaw Community Hospital and Tidelands Georgetown Memorial Hospital.
Why do the hospitals accept different insurance plans?
Tidelands Health has negotiated contracts with numerous managed care providers, and most insurance plans are accepted at Tidelands facilities. However, there are some differences in the providers with whom each hospital has agreements.
Why is my insurance accepted by the hospital but not by some physicians?
Some physicians and physician groups are not employees of Tidelands Health. These physician practices operate as independent business entities.