Patient Charges Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are encounter level charges?

Our list of encounter level average charges includes a low and high estimate. The encounter level charges are different from what’s called a chargemaster. A chargemaster is a list of billable charges for procedures, supplies or drugs that the hospital can provide to a patient during their care. Given the wide range of services provided by hospitals, a chargemaster contains thousands of items.

In an effort to provide more helpful information to our patients, NHRMC is publishing its average charges at an encounter level so patients can get an idea for the total charges for the visit/encounter. As most would not know all the line level charges that would be involved with their care.

Health insurance companies contract with hospitals to care for their customers. Hospitals are paid the insurance company’s contracted rate, which is significantly less than the charged amount. The insurance company’s contract rate is the basis for determining the patient’s actual costs. As an example, a hospital may charge $1,000 for a service, while the insurer’s contract rate may be $700. If the patient’s insurance plan indicates the patient is responsible for 20 percent of the contracted rate, the patient would owe $140 (20 percent of $700). In situations where a patient does not have insurance, our hospital has financial assistance policies that may discount the patient’s responsibility. More information on these policies can be found by clicking here.

Are charges the same for every patient?

The list of charges is the same for everyone. However, the total charges for an individual often vary from one to another for a number of reasons, including:

  • How long it takes to perform the service or how long it takes you to recover in the hospital
  • Whether the service or procedure you receive is more or less difficult than expected
  • What kinds of medication you require
  • Whether you experience complications and need additional treatment
  • Other health conditions you may have that may affect your care

Why do some procedures have numerical levels with different pricing?

No two patients or cases are alike, even when people have the same diagnosis, courses of treatment could vary. Patients could receive different of types of drugs or supplies, for example. A level 1 encounter is typically lower acuity, which should reflect a lower charge, compared to a higher level of acuity with a higher charge.

What is not included in the list of charges?

This list does not include charges for services provided by every doctor (or doctors) who treat you while you are at the hospital. You may receive separate bills from the hospital and the doctors involved in your care. 

Here is a partial list of health care providers who may bill you separately:

  • Your personal doctor, if he/she sees you in the hospital
  •  The surgeon who performs your procedure
  • The anesthesiologist who works with the surgeon
  • The radiologist who reads your X-rays or other imaging
  • Other doctors who may be consulted by your doctor during your time in the hospital
  • Laboratory testing

How can I know what I will have to pay?

Information on hospital charges is not particularly helpful for estimating what healthcare services are going to cost you. If you have health insurance, the amount you will be expected to pay for your services depends on your specific health insurance coverage and your insurance company’s contract with the hospital.

If you do not have health insurance, you may be eligible for reduced costs under the hospital’s financial assistance policy, or you may be eligible for Medicaid coverage.

Do you offer pricing estimates?

We want to help our patients better understand and plan for any out-of-pocket healthcare costs for upcoming services or procedures. To help achieve this, NHRMC will provide price estimates for many of the most commonly requested medical services and diagnostic tests.

While every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of these price estimates, the charges associated with medical care and diagnostic testing can vary substantially, depending on individual medical needs and circumstances. We cannot determine in advance the exact total cost of a procedure, because we cannot anticipate all the charges that may be incurred during treatment. As a result, the final bill may be greater than or less than the estimate provided.

For questions about your financial obligation, we encourage you to contact your insurance company to verify details of your coverage.

If you would like a pricing estimate for a service, please call:

  • New Hanover Regional Medical Center: 910.667.5458
  • Pender Memorial Hospital: 910.300.4351

Where can I find more information?

If you would like more information about charges or cost of care please contact us for an estimate.

  • NHRMC: 910.667.5458
  • Pender Memorial Hospital: 910.300.4351

We also have financial assistance options. You may also call Patient Financial Services at 910.667.7050.

We recommend you also talk with your insurance provider to understand your insurance coverage; which charges will be covered; how much you will be billed; amount of any deductibles; and what you will be asked to pay.