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Don’t get surprised with out-of-pocket costs for medical procedures; here’s how to get price estimates ahead of time

Here's how to get price estimates ahead of time on medical procedures.
Here's how to get price estimates ahead of time on medical procedures.(Pixabay)
Published: Mar. 10, 2021 at 8:56 AM CST
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(Editor’s note: This story was originally published October 16, 2020 at 1:19 PM CDT - Updated October 17 at 6:47 AM on wafb.com)

BATON ROUGE, La. (Great Health Divide) - Getting shocked by a hospital or procedure bill is never fun. When your money is tight, it’s best to budget and plan ahead. Here are a few ways to get ahead of out-of-pocket hospital expenses.

Baton Rouge General released a new price estimator tool to help give you a better idea of what it will cost you for surgeries and procedures.

First, you need to read over and agree to the disclaimer. Then, you enter the patient portal.

You can type in or scroll through the procedure you’re preparing for, ideally, your physician has already given you the name of the procedure. Search through the categories to find the one that applies to you.

Then, put in the required information, which is your first and last name plus your date of birth. If you have medical insurance, select your policy provider and policy number. If you don’t have insurance, select “no” or “I don’t know.”

Finally, click “get my estimate.”

You’ll be directed to a new page with your out-of-pocket price range for your selected procedure. From there, you can review the details of your estimate, like if you need to pay a co-pay. You can also print out the estimate to refer back to later.

However, this tool and these prices are unique to Baton Rouge General. Other local hospitals offer similar services.

If you’re planning a procedure or surgery at Our Lady of the Lake, you can call the billing department at (225) 765-8872 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. You can also visit the insurance department here. On the phone, you’ll need to provide your procedure code, first and last name, birthdate and insurance information.

Ochsner offers a nearly identical system. You can call the billing estimates department directly at 504-703-2773 or click here. You’ll need to provide the same confidential information to a representative on the phone.

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Great Health Divide is an initiative addressing health disparities in the Mississippi Delta and Appalachia funded in part by the Google News Initiative.

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