Surprise medical bills are any unexpected expenses incurred by a patient after receiving medical treatment. This will include an out-of-network charge, unexpected facility fees, balance bill, or any bill that is much higher than you expect. Even when you have premium insurance that results in surprise medical costs at the end of the procedure you are not completely compensated for all medical care.
Surprise medical bills are all common nowadays. Patients are getting the services they need and receiving a medical bill that exceeds their expected cost sometimes by tens of thousands of dollars. To help you avoid these payments, below are some helpful tips to protect yourself from surprising medical bills.
8 Tips To Protect Yourself From Surprise Medical Bills
The easiest way to avoid surprise medical bills is to take the following precautions before receiving medical treatments. As a result, these measures appear to be more appropriate for the scheduled operations, rather than for emergency cares. You can also read about No Surprise Act.
1. Figure Out What Your Plan Covers
Take your time to read the advantages of your package carefully and make notes. You should have full awareness of all the advantages of the package. A clearer understanding of your contract will help you prevent surprise medical expenses and always contact your insurer to confirm coverage of the required medical procedure.
2. Double-check Providers Are In-network
The provider network shifts all the time and it is wise to contact the insurer before the operation to ensure that the doctor you are going to see still on the network. It’s also smart to take notes on who you spoke to and what you said. Keep this information handy, as it will support you when you receive a surprise bill.
3. Cost Estimates
Many insurers provide a cost estimator that helps you get an idea of the cost of every particular treatment. Along with this a lot of third-party applications are also available on the internet that will help you get cost estimates for any treatment. After receiving the estimated rate, contact the health care provider, and ask for an estimate in advance. Compare the fees with your own researched values, and examine whether there is a major difference. The estimated cost expected from your healthcare provider will also help you get a surprise bill.
4. Get Help From the State
While there are no federal regulations to protect patients from surprising billing, some states have policies to protect patients from certain medical bills. For example, in some states patients are secure from charges for emergency room visits involving network physicians. so it’s a good idea to contact the state department to check if any legal requirements will help you prevent surprise bills.
5. Reviewing the Bills
Hospital billing departments manage a large amount of data daily and unexpectedly billing errors are very common. They may have used the wrong insurance records, billed you for services you never got or they may have wrong dates. Always check your medical bills closely and identify whether there is a difference.
6. Filing an Appeal
Medical bills also come with instructions about how to file an appeal if you suspect an irregularity.it is a safe idea to file a formal complaint with your insurance provider if you notice that you are being overcharged. Whenever you plan to contest a medical bill with your insurance, brief your healthcare provider about the situation and ask them not to send the bill to the collection. Although they are not bound to do so this request will help you buy more time so that you can settle the dispute with your insurer.
7. Ask About The Payment Plan
If all the measures fail and it is clear that the bill is valid and you have to pay for the payments, then it is best to call some sort of financial aid or payment plan. Many of the billing departments provide payment plans with a low to zero interest rate that will help you pay your medical bills quickly.
8. Know Where to Turn For Emergency Care
Medical procedures are a stressful experience for patients and their families, and unexpected medical bills can add to the stress. Although there is no deadline for the government to finally put in regulation that would fully eliminate surprise bills, they can be avoided with the basic checks we have mentioned above.
Interested to learn how RMB can help you? Contact Us!
Hi, this is Sarah Jones, a medical billing expert with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. Sarah is a certified professional coder (CPC) and has extensive knowledge of medical billing and coding regulations, HIPAA compliance, and insurance claim processing.
She started her career as a medical billing specialist at a large hospital, where she quickly developed her skills in coding, billing, and revenue cycle management. Her expertise and attention to detail enabled her to rise through the ranks and become a billing supervisor, leading a team of billing specialists.