Regardless of whether people have health insurance or not, understanding the medical billing process can be confusing. Many people have difficulty determining what their insurance company may be responsible for paying and what, if any, cost for which they are responsible.
Because of their sudden nature, medical bills are also one reason people may turn to payday advance loans to avoid falling behind on their payments or creating further problems.
The combination of those factors may be part of the reason why medical bills are a contributing factor in more than 60 percent of personal bankruptcies, according to a Harvard University study. Of those people, more than 90 percent had medical bills of more than $5,000.
However, some of these issues may not even be the fault of consumers. Insurance companies and hospitals can also make billing mistakes. Health insurance experts told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that consumers should take preventative steps so they don’t end up paying for those errors.
Check health insurance information
One of the first steps officials relayed was that, when possible, you should confirm your health insurance information with the doctor or hospital before undergoing treatment.
Ensuring they have up-to-date information prevents situations in which a doctor thought your insurance would pay for something, but it didn’t, or vice versa. Having the correct insurance information also helps avoid the questions that may result if the doctor attempts to bill and old insurance company
Double check your bill
If you receive a bill for medical treatment, check it against the health insurance information you have to double check all of the paperwork.
Too often, people receive their benefits forms from their insurers, put them them in file cabinet and then never look at them again. This could be a mistake.
This review has two parts. First, you confirm that your health insurance firm paid their part correctly. However, you can also check to make sure that the doctor or hospital billed for the correct procedure. Mistakes happen everywhere, so it never hurts to double check.
Look for assistance, where available
If you know it will be difficult to pay for a medical bill but can’t avoid it, be upfront about the situation. Doctors and hospitals are used to dealing with insurance companies and may be able to help you find lower-cost treatments that work better with your budget. Low-cost alternatives, such as generic medications, can make a big difference when your budget is already strained.
It’s also common for healthcare providers to create payment plans or find other solutions to help you pay your bills. If you can’t afford to make the payment in full at that time, being honest about it will save a great deal of time and effort later on.
You should also ask for help from other sources if you need to. There are many charitable organizations and other programs aimed at helping people pay for medical costs. Doctors may even be able to see if you qualify for any in your local area.