What You Need To Know About Protecting Yourself From Surprise Medical Bills
Medical bills that are unexpectedly incurred by a patient after medical treatment are called surprise medical bills. This includes out-of-network charges, unexpected facility fees, and balance bills you would ever imagine. Even when you are covered by premium insurance, you may not be fully compensated for the full cost of the procedure at the end. Surprise medical bills have become quite common nowadays. In addition to receiving the requested services, patients often receive a medical bill that exceeds their expected cost by tens of thousands of dollars. Here are a few helpful tips to protect yourself from unexpected medical bills.
7 Useful Tips To Protect Yourself From Surprise Medical Bills
Before receiving medical treatment, it is important to take the following precautions in order to avoid surprise medical bills. These measures, therefore, appear more relevant to scheduled operations than to emergency care:
- Make sure you know what your plan covers.
- Double-check In-Network Providers
- Cost Estimates
- Get State’s Assistance
- Closely Review Bills
- File an Appeal
- Ask for the Financial Aid/Payment Plan
- Know where to seek emergency care
Make sure you know what your plan covers?
You should carefully read the benefits of your package and make notes. Be sure to take note of the advantages of your package and read them carefully. You should fully understand every benefit it offers. Having a clear understanding of your contract will enable you to prevent unexpected medical expenses and always contact your insurance company to confirm coverage.
Double-check in-network providers
The provider network shifts constantly, so it’s important to contact the insurer before the surgery to ensure that the doctor you’re going to see is still in the network. Additionally, you should take notes about who you spoke with and what you discussed. This information will support you, if you receive a surprise bill.
The cost of a specific treatment can often be estimated by an insurer using a cost estimator. On top of this, there are also a number of third-party applications available on the internet that will give you an estimate of the cost of any treatment. Upon receiving the estimated rate, contact the health care provider and ask for an estimate. Make a comparison between the fees and the values you researched, and look for major differences. Additionally, knowing what your healthcare provider will charge will help you avoid getting a surprise bill.
Get State’s Assistance
Although there are no federal regulations protecting patients from a shocking estimate, but a few states do have policies that protect patients against surprise medical bills. In certain states, for instance, patients are not charged for emergency room visits with network physicians. It would be a good idea to contact the state department to find out if there are any legal requirements you should be aware of.
Closely Review Bills
Healthcare billing departments handle a lot of data on a daily basis, and unexpected billing errors are common. You may have been billed for services you never received, your insurance records may be incorrect or the date may be incorrect. Review your medical bills carefully and identify any differences.
File an Appeal
It is a good idea to file a formal complaint with your insurance provider if you notice that you are overcharged on your medical bills. A formal complaint with your insurance provider will help you from over charges. Inform your healthcare provider that you are contesting a medical bill with your insurance and ask them not to send the bill to collection.
Ask for the Financial Aid/Payment Plan
Despite the fact that your insurer is not obliged to comply, this request will help you extend the time you have to resolve the dispute. All other measures fail, and it becomes clear that the bill is valid and you need to pay for it, then the best thing to do is to apply for financial aid or a payment plan. Medical billing departments typically offer payment plans with low or no interest rates so that you can pay your medical bills quickly.
Know where to seek emergency care
It can be a stressful experience for patients and their families to undergo medical procedures, and unexpected medical bills can add to the stress. While there is no definitive deadline when the government will finally put in regulations that will completely eliminate surprise bills, these can often be avoided with the basic checks we have mentioned above.