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Health Care Cost Transparency Initiative

Northwestern University Health Service (NUHS) fully supports the emerging national interest in cost transparency. Health care consumers generally want to know what a given service will cost, yet all too often, the cost is shrouded by the complexity of the health care environment.

This is due to many factors, including the judgment and documentation of the health care provider, the complexity of the situation, the coverage (if any) by health insurance and the accuracy of the billing process.

Nevertheless, the process does have a beginning: the listed price of a given service, without any overlay of all the other influences.

NUHS is happy to share this price information for services provided at the Health Service on the Evanston Campus.  Please review the  Patient Accounts and Financial Responsibility web page.

If you are a Chicago Campus student, Health Service Chicago is operated by Northwestern Medicine (NM) and prices for some services will differ. Northwestern University Health Service has provisions in its contract regarding certain no-charge items for NU students who receive care from General Internal Medicine at Northwestern Medicine in the Galter Pavilion on the Chicago campus. For a list of these no-charge items, please visit the Fee Schedule.

In general, all other things being equal, NUHS will be the least expensive option for all students who want to find a source of their common ambulatory care. This is because NUHS does not charge for the office visit, and some lab tests are also “no charge”, regardless of whatever health insurance they may have.

The story does not end there, since consumers will need to dig deeper to find their actual end point cost (responsibility). For example, students who have Northwestern sponsored Student Health Insurance Plan from Aetna Student Health and get their lab testing at our facility generally pay nothing at all because of our collaboration with Aetna Student Health. Students who don’t have the Northwestern sponsored Student Health Insurance Plan will need to pay the charge listed on website and seek reimbursement from their individual health insurance plan, and this depends on a lot of factors. These factors include the specific coverage provisions of their insurance plan, and something called the deductible.

Almost all health insurance plans expect that a consumer will pay the first amount of dollars expended on covered health care, which is the insurance term known as “the deductible.” The deductible figure varies with the actual plan that covers the consumer, and there are literally hundreds of different health care plans, each with proprietary provisions about the deductible and covered services.