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Billing Glossary

Last Updated 11/20/2008


We realize that families and patients are not always familiar with the terminology we use. We have provided a list of commonly used terms and their definitions to help assist you through the billing process.

Birthday Rule
Used to determine coordination of benefits (primary or secondary) for children. Insurance's only use the month and day to determine coverage. We have listed some examples:

Parents are married, the insurance of the parent whose birthday occurs first in a calendar year is primary, while the other parent's coverage would be secondary.

If the parents have the same birthday, the parent who has had their insurance plan the longest would be considered primary.

In situations where the parents are separated or divorced and both parents have coverage for the child, the benefits are determined in the following order.*

The insurance plan of the parent with legal custody of the child.
The plan of the spouse of the parent with legal custody of the child.
Lastly, the plan of the parent who does not have legal custody of the child.

*This can vary depending on the court decree, if there are no specific terms on a court decree, the benefit determination would be the same as the first bullet listed above.

Coordination of Benefits (COB)
An insurance group policy provision which determines the primary carrier, when the insured is covered by more than one plan.

Contractual Adjustment
The difference between the insurance contracted payment amount and the amount of the charge.

Co-payment or Co-insurance
A fee predetermined by your insurance policy that you pay for health care services.

Deductible
The amount of money a patient must pay for health care services before an insurance company will make a payment. This amount is predetermined by your insurance company based on your policy and usually due every calendar year.

EOB or Explanation of Benefits
Explanation of payments sent to the provider and policyholder by the insurance company.

Guarantor
The person financially responsible for the bill.

Managed Care
A medical delivery system (Medical Group) that manages the quality and cost of medical services.

Medi-Cal
A California State funded program that provides health care benefits to eligible recipients. Visit the Medi-Cal website for more information.

Medicare
A federal insurance program which primarily serves those over 65 years or disabled people. Medicare is made up of two component, Part A and Part B.

Medicare Part A - covers inpatient hospital services, nursing home care, home health care and hospice care.

Medicare Part B - covers doctors services, outpatient's hospital services, durable medical equipment and supplies and other health care services.
Visit the Medicare website for more information.

Non-Covered Services
Services an insurance policy does not cover. A patient incurs these charges.

Payment Arrangements
A payment plan formally set with either the financial counselor or customer service department, when the balance due on account cannot be paid in full. These plans are based on established policies and guidelines.

Payor
A third party entity (commercial/government) that processes and applies payment for your medical claim.

Prior-Authorization/Pre-Certification
A formal approval obtained to provide referred or requested services, granted by one or more of the following:

Health Plan.
Medical Group or the hospital depending upon whom is financially responsible for the requested or referred services.

Referral
A physician's medical request for services or consultation to be provided by a specialist.

Self-Pay
An account for medical services, payable by the guarantor, when they do not have insurance coverage, the charges are non-covered and/or excluded from their policy. Payment is due 30 days from discharge.

Subscriber
A person who is enrolled for benefits with an insurance company

Workers Compensation
Insurance coverage provided by employers to cover employees injured on the job.

Contact Patient Financial Services

Our Patient Financial Services staff are available to assist you with any questions you may have regarding your bill from El Camino Hospital. You may contact us either by phone, fax, in person, or e-mail.

Below are our location and hours of operation. If at any time our staff does not meet your needs, please contact one of our Patient Financial Services management team members.

The El Camino Hospital Patient Financial Services Department is located at:

El Camino Hospital -- Mountain View
Oak Pavilion
2505 Hospital Drive, First Floor
Mountain View, CA 94040

Phone: 650-940-7220
Fax: 650-966-9295

E-mail: patient_accounts@elcaminohospital.org
When using e-mail, please allow two business days for us to respond to your request. Please do not use e-mail to send any personal information.

Office Hours:
For in-person walk-in visits, appointments, or to reach a phone operator:
Monday - Friday
8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

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