Frequently Asked Questions
If you have billing questions, we can help. Can't find your answer below? Don't hesitate to contact us directly.
About the billing process.
How does the billing process work?
We know health care billing can seem complicated — so we work hard to ensure your experience with Sharp is straightforward and accurate.
We process your bill in six steps.
- When you go to the hospital for a medical procedure or to your doctor's office for a checkup, we confirm your billing information — including who is responsible for payment and which health insurance plan should be billed.
- Following your medical procedure, our billing office files a claim with your primary health insurance for the services performed. In many cases, payment is sent directly to us from your health insurance provider.
- If there is a problem with the information provided, and your insurance plan will not pay, our billing office attempts to correct the information and refile the claim.
- After your claim is processed by your primary health insurance plan, our billing office will file claims with any supplemental insurance organizations.
- When all insurance has been processed, you are billed for any remaining unpaid balance and will receive a statement in the mail. If you cannot pay the entire amount, please call Patient Financial Services at 858-499-2400 (for hospital services) or 858-499-2410 (for Sharp Rees-Stealy services) or send us an email. Please provide your full name and contact information.
- Our billing office will make several attempts to collect payment. If you do not pay the entire amount or contact the billing office to arrange a payment plan, your account will be sent to a collection agency.
If you have any questions about the process or your specific bill, please don't hesitate to contact us.
Paying your bill.
How can I make a payment?
You can pay online by credit or debit card. To pay by check or credit card over the phone, please call Patient Financial Services at 858-499-2400 (hospital payments) or 858-499-2410 (Sharp Rees-Stealy payments). You may also pay in cash at the hospital or clinic or mail your payment to the address listed on your statement. All standard forms of payment are accepted, including cash, check, cashier's check, money order and major credit cards.
I can't pay my bill in full. What should I do?
Sharp HealthCare offers many payment options, including monthly payment installments. If you would like to discuss your bill or payment options, please call Patient Financial Services at 858-499-2400 (hospital bills) or 858-499-2410 (Sharp Rees-Stealy bills).
Understanding your bill.
You sent me a bill but I don't know what it's for. How can I find out?
Your bill will list the services you received under the "Summary of Patient Services." To see an example of a bill like yours, with descriptions for each section, please review our sample bill. If you still need answers, please send us an email or call 858-499-2400 (hospital statements) or 858-499-2410 (Sharp Rees-Stealy statements).
Why do I receive so many bills when I visit the hospital?
It's not uncommon to receive statements or bills from more than one provider for one hospital visit. We're here to help shed light on the bills you may receive.
Every hospital visit involves both physician and hospital resources. Although physicians are licensed to practice at Sharp's hospitals, they are not Sharp HealthCare employees. This means the hospital and each of your treating physicians will send you a bill for their parts of your care.
For example, if you had an emergency room visit that required X-rays and lab tests, you may receive a bill from the hospital for technical resources, a bill from the emergency room physician for professional services, a bill from the radiologist for interpreting your X-rays and a bill from the pathologist for analyzing specimens from your lab tests.
Types of bills you may receive:
Billing for services performed at a Sharp hospital for inpatient or outpatient care include: room and board, emergency room services, supplies, nursing care, therapy (physical, speech, etc.), surgeries, treatment, lab tests, radiology (X-rays) and more.
Billing for professional services performed by doctors at Sharp hospitals and medical offices include: office visits, minor procedures, surgeries, consultations, reviewing lab tests and X-rays and more.
Contracted provider bills
In addition to doctors, many contracted health care providers — ambulance companies, diagnostic services, labs and radiologists (outside of the hospital) — may bill you separately for their services.
In-network and out-of-network services
If you have health insurance, your insurance plan may have preferred "in-network" providers for outpatient lab services, ambulance services, outpatient surgery, physicians, specialty physicians, pharmacy and more. Only your health insurance plan can tell you who the contracted providers are for your particular plan and benefits.
- In-network providers are contracted by your insurance plan to provide your health care services at pre-negotiated rates
- Out-of-network providers are not contracted by your insurance plan, and you may be responsible for paying full charges or a higher share of charges should these providers treat you
If you have questions about your covered services, copays or deductibles — or which providers are in-network or out-of-network in your insurance plan — please call your health insurance company to confirm your coverage.
Why did I receive a bill if I have insurance?
You may receive a bill from us after your health insurance plan processes our bill. The amount you are charged is the portion of your bill your insurance policy does not cover — it is based on what your insurance plan communicates to us on your explanation of benefits (EOB). Your insurance plan also mails you an EOB, which details how they processed our bill and calculated your responsibility based on your individual insurance plan. If you believe your responsibility is inaccurate, please contact your insurance plan directly.
I see the same item listed on the doctor's bill and the hospital bill. How did this happen?
Every hospital visit involves both physician and hospital resources. Although the hospital and the physician may use the same language to describe each charge, their bills are for separate services. The physician's bill will be for the professional services. The hospital's bill will be for the technical resources and supplies, such as procedures and equipment, needles and scalpels or medications.
What's the difference between a copay, a deductible and coinsurance?
A copay is a predetermined (flat) fee that you pay for health care services, in addition to what your health insurance plan pays.
A deductible is the annual amount that you must pay, out of pocket, before an insurance plan begins reimbursing for eligible services.
Coinsurance takes place when you reach your deductible and you and your insurance plan share in paying a percentage of the remaining costs. The percentage you pay of the remaining costs depends on your plan. For example, if your deductible has been met and your coinsurance is 20 percent, your plan will cover the remaining 80 percent of covered services. Typically, you will pay your percentage of costs until you reach your plan's annual out-of-pocket maximum.
What happens if I don't pay my bill?
Please refer to our Billing, Collections and Bad Debt policy.
How can I file an appeal to my HMO health plan?
If you believe that the determination is not correct, you or your authorized representative has the right to appeal the decision by filing a grievance with your health plan. Please submit a copy of the front and back of your statement and a brief explanation of your situation, along with any other relevant information, to the address of your health plan. Find your health plan's address (PDF).
Still have a question? We can help.
If you still have a billing question that we haven't answered here, please call Patient Financial Services at 858-499-2400 (hospital services and billing) or at 858-499-2410 (Sharp Rees-Stealy clinic services and billing). We look forward to helping you.