TWO-TIP TUESDAY: TWO WAYS TO SAVE MONEY WHEN IT COMES TO HEALTHCARE BILLS
Top tip 1: Just because insurance says you owe something doesn’t mean you actually owe it.
Top tip 2: Don’t go to the ER unless you HAVE to.
One of my greatest passions is helping my clients avoid paying unnecessary large bills. You will be amazed at how much money people are needlessly spending on incorrectly coded bills or bills that include extras you did not actually receive at the time of service.
My first and foremost advice is to always triple-check the bill, and request itemized billing to see that it has been correctly coded and that the copays match what your insurance company says they should be. Once you know that the bill is correct, then you pay it knowing you have been correctly charged.
The next thing you can do is to be aware of the fact that just because your insurance company says you owe something, it doesn’t mean you actually do. It is important to know the difference between insurance claims and actual bills. Often times you will receive notifications from the insurance company about claims made. These may still need to be adjusted accordingly, and then the healthcare provider will send a bill for how much you actually do owe. Be sure that they have applied proper copays and deductions according to your plan. Many insurance companies no longer mail out to you their explanation of benefits, which explains the insurance discounts and what you will actually owe for a procedure. I can not stress enough how important it is to familiarize yourself with the insurance company’s portal, which details your benefits and what percentages or copays you are required to pay.
My final tip for today is: educate yourself on the difference between the ER and urgent care so that you can use the ER only when absolutely necessary. Other than the fact that the ER is extremely expensive and urgent cares are considerably cheaper, we do not want to be overburdening or filling up the ERs with cases that could be seen in the urgent cares – we want to leave space and time for the ER’s to deal with the true and serious emergencies that do happen.
Be sure to know what services you can receive in urgent care. You will be surprised to know how many people go to the ER, and subsequently are paying high ER bills when they could have accessed urgent care for that same service.
Now obviously, there are true emergencies that only the ER can help with. If you are in a true emergency such as a heart attack, stroke, trauma, etc., you absolutely need to get yourself to the ER immediately. And for true emergencies, you should not be worrying about the cost, as insurance companies will pay for emergencies. But, for smaller incidences that are not major or potentially life-threatening, such as broken arms or the need for a few stitches, many urgent cares can assist with this. A major consideration here is cost; urgent cares charge a lot less for their services overall. As an example, I know that FastMed urgent care charges a $199 cash pay urgent care visit. If you have insurance with a copay for urgent care, it is usually $75. If you compare that with ER visit fees, say for a broken arm, the difference is immense.
There are many ways to avoid huge, unnecessary medical bills, but still receive the health care you need. Stay tuned for information on this next week!
If you have any questions or need help with your healthcare insurance please feel free to reach out to me.