If death and taxes are two things that no one can avoid, medical bills could be a close third. The average person pays nearly $13,000 in medical costs. Rarely are these costs paid upfront. Instead, the insurance provider bills you and then you go through figuring out how much coverage your health insurance company provides.
You may not realize it, but paying medical bills is a science. When you do it the right way, you can save money, balance your monthly budget, and even catch a few billing errors. Below we look at how to pay your medical bills in a way that benefits you.
Confirm the Amount and Check With Your Health Insurance Broker
To start, confirm the amount that you owe the doctor. A high percentage of medical bills contain errors. The billing department has minimal contact with providers, leading to miscommunication. Because they enter thousands of codes a day, errors are inevitable. And if there’s an error on your bill, you may owe less than you think.
If your medical bill isn’t itemized, request a full bill. Then, take a careful look for the following kinds of issues:
- Incorrect dates of services
- Multiple charges for the same procedure or line-item
- Charges for procedures or services that you don’t recognize
If anything looks suspicious, contact your doctor and request an explanation. If they made an error, they will need to contact your insurance provider with an updated claim.
Understand Your Health Insurance Coverage
In some cases, the issue isn’t with your medical bill but how your insurer received or processed it. Up to half of denied claims are eventually covered, which means it’s worth your while to talk to your health insurance broker.
Find out why your claim was denied. Potential reasons include:
- The claim was filed with partial insurance information.
- There were claim coding errors, like lack of stated diagnosis.
- Your provider filed the claim after your insurer’s window.
Your health insurance broker can tell you what information you’ll need to provide to gain approval or reach out to your provider for more information.
Negotiate With Your Doctor
After you’ve talked to your provider and insurer, there may still be a balance due on your medical bill. The amount on the bill may not be set in stone. Medical billing departments are used for negotiations. They’d much rather you pay a portion of the bill than spend months trying to collect on the debt.
Because so many people default on their medical debt, providers may be willing to cut you a deal right away.
Create a Payment Plan
Don’t put a medical bill on your everyday credit card if you can avoid it. Why?
- You’ll have to pay interest on the total.
- You may lower your credit score by occupying more of your credit.
Instead, ask your provider’s billing office to create an interest-free payment plan. As long as they receive regular, timely payments on your balance, they have an incentive to work with you.
You might need a private loan to cover your medical debt in some situations. But before you consider this option, seek other kinds of professional help. In some cases, your medical debt might be higher than you can afford to pay for the foreseeable future. But that doesn’t mean you have to declare bankruptcy.
Instead, enlist the help of a medical bill advocate. Medical bill advocates are professionals who deal with billing departments and insurers to reach a reasonable resolution. Check in advance to understand the cost of their services.
Contact Insurance Enterprise for Personal Health Insurance
If you have questions about health insurance and need quotes, contact Insurance Enterprise at 888-350-6605. Speak to a health insurance broker and find out more about getting an affordable health insurance plan.