I DON’T KNOW WHAT THIS HEALTHCARE VISIT WILL COST ME! WHAT SHOULD I PAY?!
Top Takeaway: Protect yourself from paying for healthcare services you can not afford by knowing your insurance benefits, and confirming what you’re being asked to pay before paying it!
We spend money and receive bills for services we receive all the time. We most often agree to the amount of service beforehand.
When you go to a restaurant, there are prices on the menu and you can decide what you can afford before you order it.
When you walk into BestBuy, looking to buy a TV, you can compare the prices and products, and pick the TV that you like, being fully aware of what it will cost you.
When you buy a car, you know before you leave the dealership what it will cost you, either to pay in cash upfront or what the repayments and interest will be. You wouldn’t think of buying a car without this knowledge.
But did you realize that when it comes to healthcare, it is very different? Healthcare is the only thing in life that we engage in, without knowing what it costs before we do it. It comes down to the fact that healthcare is not very transparent. When we have a health care need, we walk in, hand them our insurance card, receive their services, then get a bill later. It’s really crazy when you think about it.
So how do we fix this? How can we know what we’re going to spend? Or what kind of bill we’re going to get?
Unfortunately, you’re not going to know absolutely what you will be charged ahead of time. This is because insurance companies, hospitals, and ERs don’t want to tell you. Doctor’s offices are a little bit different. Here, you can usually call ahead and get a price. Hospitals and ERs, however, are certainly not transparent at all.
The very first thing you can do to help save yourself some money is to know and understand the basics of your insurance plan. What do I mean by that?
You should know:
- What is your deductible?
- What are your copays? (You’d be shocked to find out that sometimes a doctor’s office will ask you for a copay that is even your copay on your exact plan!)
- Is this facility in-network?
Also, it is important to always confirm what your actual copay and patient responsibility should be for procedures, such as pathology, test and MRI etc. Often the doctor’s offices can get it wrong, presuming your plan is similar to other plans that the insurance company offers.
Knowledge is empowerment. You may not be able to know the exact cost of the care you are to receive, but by employing these strategies, you can protect yourself from overpaying or from being billed incorrectly.