Billing & Insurance

The PACHS Business Office is open weekdays from 8:00 am - 4:00 pm to help you with all of your billing and insurance questions.

After your insurance company has paid or denied their portion of your hospital services, we will send you a statement. It will indicate the amount that has been paid and any balance you are required to pay. This is your bill. You have 30 days to pay the balance. If you cannot pay the balance within 30 days, please contact the business office to make payment arrangements. 

You May Be Eligible To Receive Financial Assistance On Your Hospital & Clinic Bills.

Business Office

  • Business Office Hours

    Monday - Friday 7:30 am - 4:00 pm

  • Patient Admitting Hours

    Available 24 hours / 7 days per week

  • Emergency Admitting Hours

    Available 24 hours / 7 days per week

  • Location

    Private registration rooms for both clinic and hospital services are located at the main entrance of PACHS.

  • Assisted Transportation

    Car or wheelchair van available for appointments in Palo Alto County.

  • Tobacco Free Campus

    Smoking inside and outside on any hospital grounds is not allowed.

Financial Assistance

What If I Just Cannot Afford To Pay My Bill?

Contact the business office regarding PACH’s Financial Assistance program. You may be eligible to receive financial assistance on your hospital and clinic bills if you have been denied by Title 19 or do not meet eligibility requirements, or are a resident of Palo Alto County Health System’s market area and meet income guidelines.

Payments and Financial Assistance

Business Office Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:00 am-4:00 pm

Business Office Phone: 712.852.5500, Press 5 to hear Business Office options

Payment Options

Payment is due in full when you receive your billing statement. We accept the following methods of payment:

  • Credit/debit cards
  • Online Bill Pay
  • Cash, check, or money order

Please make a check or money order payable to Palo Alto County Health System and include your statement number or account number. Failing to include a statement number or account number may result in your payment being returned.

If you are unable to pay your balance in full, the following options are available:

  • Payment plan with Palo Alto County Health System (see Payment Arrangements below)
  • Extended payment plans through HELP Financial (see HELP Financial below)
  • Financial Assistance (see Financial Assistance Program below) 

Payment Arrangements

If you are unable to pay in full, please call our Financial Counselor at 712.852.5417 to set up a payment plan. In-house payment plans are allowed for 6 months or less. Extended payment plans are available through HELP Financial (see below).

Please contact our office to confirm your payment arrangements. Failure to establish a formal payment plan with our office may result in your account being referred to an external collection agency. Accounts may also be referred to an external collection agency if regular payments are not made.

Currently, Palo Alto County Health System uses Quad Corporation out of Davenport, IA to collect delinquent accounts.

HELP Financial

Beginning in March of 2018, Palo Alto County Health System has partnered with HELP Financial to offer extended payment plans to our patients. HELP Financial has over 28 years of experience in offering patients affordable monthly payments for healthcare bills.

If you need a longer timeframe to pay your balance, you can apply for a 12-to-36-month HELP Payment Plan. Regardless of the term you choose, your HELP Payment Plan will carry a 0.0% APR during the first twelve (12) months introductory period and, after that, a low 4.0% APR on the remaining principal balance only.

Palo Alto County Health System offers this program to assist patients, but HELP Financial Corporation is an independent organization and is not controlled by PACHS.

To apply for a HELP Payment Plan:

OPTION 1: Call our Financial Counselor at 712.852.5417
OPTION 2: Enroll online at Help Financial

When applying for a HELP Payment Plan, please have your hospital bill available. You will need to provide the following information:

  • Guarantor and Patient Names
  • Guarantor Address
  • Hospital Account Numbers
  • Hospital Balances

Financial Assistance Program

Palo Alto County Health System understands that paying for emergency and/or medically necessary medical care can be difficult. As part of our ongoing commitment to our patients, PACHS works hard to help our patients address their financial responsibilities in a way that is fair and sensitive to their circumstances. We have instituted a program designed specifically to help those who find themselves in financial distress.

Eligibility for the program will be determined by the family’s income and the number of family members. Uninsured and underinsured persons are welcome to apply for Financial Assistance. Eligibility for and the amount of benefit, if any, are determined based on a sliding income scale.

Persons unable to pay for their medical expenses may qualify for Palo Alto County Hospital’s Financial Assistance Program. For more information, please call our Financial Counselor at 712.852.5417

Price Estimates

The information contained in this file is being provided in compliance with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) requirement [FY 2019 IPPS/LTCH PPS Final Rule; CMS-1694-F] for hospitals to post a list of their standard charges online in a machine-readable format.

By clicking to download this information you agree you have read and understand the following:

By clicking to download this information you agree you have read and understand the above.

Pay My Bill

Do you prefer e-statements? Pay your Palo Alto County Health System bill easily online at your convenience. 

HELP Financial

Palo Alto County Health System partners with HELP Financial to offer you a variety of bill payment options.

Billing Rights

When you see a doctor or other health care provider, you are protected from surprise billing or balance billing.

Business Office / Patient Admitting

  • Business Office Hours

    Monday - Friday 7:30 am - 4:00 pm

  • Patient Admitting Hours

    Available 24 hours / 7 days per week

  • Emergency Admitting Hours

    Available 24 hours / 7 days per week

  • Location

    Private registration rooms for both clinic and hospital services are located at the main entrance of PACHS.

  • Assisted Transportation

    Car or wheelchair van available for appointments in Palo Alto County.

  • Tobacco Free Campus

    Smoking inside and outside on any hospital grounds is not allowed.

Patient Billing & Payment Information

As a Palo Alto County Health System (PACHS) patient, you may have questions about your bill. This information should provide you with answers to the most commonly asked questions.

We support price transparency. For our patients to understand their potential financial liability for health care services, our hospital charges are available on the Iowa Hospital Association website’s “Iowa Hospital Charges Compare,” at iowahospitalcharges.com. Hospital charges vary based on the type of care provided. The price can differ from patient to patient for the same services. The price will be different for complications or different treatment for the patient’s personal health condition. Patients also may qualify for financial assistance. Please contact Coleen Ruddy, 712.852.5403 or send an email to ruddyc@mercyhealth.com for a price estimate or to find out if you qualify for financial assistance.

Do I need to inform my insurance company that I'm going to receive hospital services?

It depends on your insurance policy. Because there are so many types of insurance plans, it is difficult for us to tell you whether or not you need prior approval or notification. (Often prior approval information can be found on the back of your insurance card.) It is your responsibility to check with your insurance company or employer about this.

Should I bring my insurance card and a photo ID with me to the hospital or clinic?

YES. The information on your insurance card is needed for PACH to file a claim with your insurance company(s). When you register, we will ask for information about your insurance coverage and have you sign a few forms. We will also need a photo ID for registration.

Please note that a co-pay is required for clinic visits.

How do I find out if my insurance company will cover my hospital services?

Insurance policies vary. Contact your insurance company or employer with specific questions about what is covered by your insurance plan or if a referral is required. For example, many HMO insurance polices require a referral from a Primary Care Physician. Also, Medicare does not cover the following services:

  • Ambulance services that are not to the nearest facility or not medically necessary
  • Please refer to your Medicare handbook to verify coverage of services you will be receiving.

Will you bill my insurance company for me?

Yes. As a service to you, PACH will bill your insurance company(s) based on the information supplied by you at the time of registration. We are able to bill up to three insurance companies per patient.

When will I receive a bill?

If you are self pay, an itemized bill will be sent 14 to 21 days after you receive services. Payment can be made by personal check, cash or credit card. Payment is expected within 30 days of the date of the notice.

When you provide your email at registration, an email will be sent to you notifying you when you have a balance due. Payments can be made by accessing the link provided.

Will I get more than one bill?

Yes, you may receive a bill from more than one provider for the same date of service. These bills are usually for services provided by physicians, radiologists, pathologists or other professional medical groups. These groups will bill you directly for services they provided.

How long will Palo Alto County Health System wait for my insurance to pay?

PACHS will bill your insurance company twice. When we bill your insurance company the second time, usually 60 days after the itemized statement is sent, the bill will be considered due from you and a statement will be sent.

How will I know my insurance company has paid on my bill?

After your insurance company has paid or denied their portion of your hospital services, we will send you a statement. It will indicate the amount that has been paid and any balance you are required to pay. This is your bill. You have 30 days to pay the balance. If you cannot pay the balance within 30 days, please contact the business office to make payment arrangements.

How do I set up a payment arrangement?

Contact our business office to develop a payment schedule based on the remaining balance due. You will be required to make a regular monthly payment. If you miss a payment and do not contact our office, this cancels the payment arrangement and further collection proceedings may be implemented.

Where can I pay my bill?

You can mail your payment to:
Palo Alto County Hospital
3201 First Street
Emmetsburg, IA 50536

 

If personalized assistance is needed, please contact the business office at 712.852.5500. Our office hours are Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

 

You may also pay your bill online.

What if I just cannot afford to pay my bill?

Contact the business office regarding the PACHS Financial Assistance program. You may be eligible to receive financial assistance on your hospital and clinic bills if you have been denied by Title 19, or do not meet eligibility requirements, or are a resident of Palo Alto County Health System's market area and meet income guidelines.

When you get emergency care or get treated by an out-of-network provider at an in-network hospital or ambulatory surgical center, you are protected from surprise billing or balance billing.

HMO-PPO Plans

  • Corvel
  • Coventry
  • First Choice of the Midwest
  • Fortified
  • HealthSmart (Interplan)
  • Humana Medicare Advantage PPO/HMO
  • IA Dept Public Health Breast Screening
  • Magellan
  • Meridian
  • Midlands Choice
  • Multiplan
  • North Iowa Community Healthcare
  • OHARA
  • TriCare
  • UnitedHealthcare
  • Wellmark
  • Care Provider Network
  • CorVel (“CorCare” Workers Compensation Services PPO)
  • Coventry Health Care of Iowa, Inc. HMO
  • Coventry Health & Life Insurance (Southcare PPO)
  • Healthcare Preferred PPO
  • Encompass Health Management Systems
  • First Choice of Midwest
  • Interplan health Group (dba Accountable)
  • Midlands Choice, Inc.
  • OHARA (Workers Compensation)
  • Preferred Health Choices, LLC
  • Tricare
  • UnitedHealthcare
  • Golden Rule Insurance Company has become a wholly owned subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group (the parent company of UnitedHealthcare). Golden Rule will therefore participate in UnitedHealthcare Agreements between contracted physicians, facilities, and ancillary providers and UnitedHealthcare. The payment rates applicable under existing UnitedHealthcare Agreements will be applied to claims for Golden Rule insureds. Hospital inpatient and outpatient services and rates are currently applicable. Physician and Ancillary facilities will be applied through a phased implementation schedule. Please note: At the present time, unitedhealthcareonline.com does not support services for Golden Rule Insurance Company insureds. Please direct all service issues to the telephone number on the back of the Golden Rule ID Card.
  • Wellmark/ Blue Cross Blue Shield

For Questions on HMO/PPO Plans, please call the Patient Accounts Director at 712.852.5403.

Your Rights & Protections Against Surprise Medical Bills

When you get emergency care or get treated by an out-of-network provider at an in-network hospital or ambulatory surgical center, you are protected from surprise billing or balance billing.

What Is “Balance Billing” (Sometimes Called “Surprise Billing”)?

When you see a doctor or other health care provider, you may owe certain out-of-pocket costs, such as a copayment, coinsurance, and/or a deductible. You may have other costs or have to pay the entire bill if you see a provider or visit a health care facility that isn’t in your health plan’s network.

“Out-of-network” describes providers and facilities that haven’t signed a contract with your health plan. Out-of-network providers may be permitted to bill you for the difference between what your plan agreed to pay and the full amount charged for a service. This is called “balance billing.” This amount is likely more than in-network costs for the same service and might not count toward your annual out-of-pocket limit.

“Surprise billing” is an unexpected balance bill. This can happen when you can’t control who is involved in your care—like when you have an emergency or when you schedule a visit at an in-network facility but are unexpectedly treated by an out-of-network provider.

You Are Protected From Balance Billing For:

Emergency Services

If you have an emergency medical condition and get emergency services from an out-of-network provider or facility, the most the provider or facility may bill you is your plan’s in-network cost-sharing amount (such as copayments and coinsurance). You can’t be balance billed for these emergency services. This includes services you may get after you’re in stable condition, unless you give written consent and give up your protections not to be balanced billed for these post-stabilization services.

Certain services at an in-network hospital or ambulatory surgical center

When you get services from an in-network hospital or ambulatory surgical center, certain providers there may be out-of-network. In these cases, the most those providers may bill you is your plan’s in-network cost-sharing amount. This applies to emergency medicine, anesthesia, pathology, radiology, laboratory, neonatology, assistant surgeon, hospitalist, or intensivist services. These providers can’t balance bill you and may not ask you to give up your protections not to be balance billed.

If you get other services at these in-network facilities, out-of-network providers can’t balance bill you, unless you give written consent and give up your protections.

You’re never required to give up your protections from balance billing. You also aren’t required to get care out-of-network. You can choose a provider or facility in your plan’s network.

When Balance Billing Isn’t Allowed, You Also Have The Following Protections:

You are only responsible for paying your share of the cost (like the copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles that you would pay if the provider or facility was in-network). Your health plan will pay out-of-network providers and facilities directly.

Your health plan generally must:

If you believe you’ve been wrongly billed, you may contact Coleen Ruddy at Palo Alto County Health System by email at ruddyc@mercyhealth.com or by phone at 712.852.5403.

If you wish to file a complaint with the federal government at cms.gov or by calling 1.800.985.3059. You may also file a complaint with the Iowa Insurance Division at iid.iowa.gov/insurance-consumer-complaint.

Visit cms.gov/nosurprises/consumers for more information about your rights under federal law.

Business Office / Patient Admitting

  • Business Office Hours

    Monday - Friday 7:30 am - 4:00 pm

  • Patient Admitting Hours

    Available 24 hours / 7 days per week

  • Emergency Admitting Hours

    Available 24 hours / 7 days per week

  • Location

    Private registration rooms for both clinic and hospital services are located at the main entrance of PACHS.

  • Assisted Transportation

    Car or wheelchair van available for appointments in Palo Alto County.

  • Tobacco Free Campus

    Smoking inside and outside on any hospital grounds is not allowed.