Paying Your Medical Bills on a Budget
Posted by Sarah at 2:24 pm in Great Deals

Even if you have good health insurance that only requires you to pay copays and deductibles, these expenses may stretch your budget to the breaking point.  In addition, the extra cost of prescriptions and specialist visits may leave you wondering what your insurance is actually paying for.  That said, there are some things you can do to help reduce your medical bills or, at the very least, mitigate their impact on your budget.

Shop Around

Most people think of shopping around when it comes to big-ticket purchases like cars, houses or expensive technology, but very few apply the same consumer-savvy behavior to their medical care.  In fact, doctors and hospitals can vary widely in the rates they charge for certain procedures.  If you’re planning a major surgery or have a long-term condition that requires frequent medical attention, ask the different hospitals covered by your insurance to quote you their rates.  You could save several thousands of dollars just by switching to the hospital down the street.

Keep Track of Time

Few people realize that a doctor’s visit is measured in the number of minutes spent with the patient, as well as the level of complexity associated with each visit.  In some cases, a doctor or nurse may not spend enough time with you in order to qualify for a specific type of visit as defined by your insurance provider.  Conversely, as you examine your medical bills, you may find that there was no justification for charging your insurance carrier a specific price.

Therefore, it’s vitally important to obtain copies of the billing records pertaining to each medical visit.  Study them carefully for accuracy, as well as in terms of justifying charging a specific fee.  If you feel that something is overstated or exaggerated, notify your doctor that you don’t agree with the billed amount.  In some cases, they’ll request an adjustment on the bill sent in.  If you don’t see these adjustments on your bills, you may want to alert your insurance carrier’s fraud unit to any instances of overcharging.

Audit All Bills

Every time you attend an appointment with a medical professional, you have a right to obtain a list of all services performed, as well as the amount charged for each type of care you received.  If you have health insurance, this information is usually provided by the insurance carrier.  In particular, if you or a family member has been admitted to the hospital, it’s important to review the entire bill – you may find that you’ve been accidentally charged for services you never received.  While it may take some research and work to understand these bills, you may find thousands of dollars in discrepancies.

Regardless of whether or not you have health insurance, audit all your medical bills carefully – you may find that you were billed for services that weren’t actually rendered.  In other cases, you may find that a particular billing code doesn’t accurately match the care you received.  While these bills may be difficult to decipher, if you suspect something is wrong, you should speak to your doctor about it.  If you don’t get anywhere using this route, it may be time to speak to your insurance carrier or consumer protection agencies regarding medical billing fraud.

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