Unexpected Medical Bills – Unwelcome Surprise!

If you are like most people, you are worried about unexpected medical bills, according to a survey published recently on September 10, 2018 by the respected Kaiser Family Foundation.  

The Problem

The survey of nearly 1,200 adult patients found that more than half (58%) are worried about out-of-pocket expenses or charges that they believed would be covered by their health insurance.  Surprise medical bills were the biggest concern. Forty percent (40%) said they had received an unexpected medical bill in the last year. Most of the unexpected bills were for balances due from the patient after health insurance plan deductibles and coinsurance were applied.  But, about a quarter of unexpected bills were for out-of-network providers, which can occur when receiving care from a hospital, clinic, or provider that is not in the health insurance plan. Even going to an in-network hospital may not protect you from an unexpected medical bill.  An out-of-network provider can practice at in-network hospital, resulting in the surprise.

Avoiding Unexpected Medical Bills

Knowledge and preparation are the keys to avoiding unexpected medical bills.  Learn about your health insurance plan. Understand what is covered. Ask about coinsurance and deductibles.  Inquire about in-network providers where you live or work, since you are most likely to seek care nearby. Focus on emergency care or urgent care, because you are 3 to 5 times more likely to go to an emergency room or urgent care center than to be admitted to a hospital.

No one ever plans an emergency room visit.  When you need care urgently, you go to an emergency room or urgent care center.  So take the time to do your research and learn about your health insurance plan before you need care.  Do it now! Call the customer support number on your health insurance card today. Find out which hospitals near your home are in-network.  Be sure to ask about urgent care centers too! Some health insurance plans provide financial incentives to use lower cost outlets for care, which can reduce your out-of-pocket costs.  If you work more than 5 to 10 miles from home, ask about in-network hospitals and urgent care centers near your work.

What Do You Do With Medical Bills

Receiving a medical bill, unexpected or not, can be overwhelming.  But don’t ignore it. Go online. Check out the provider’s website.  The provider may offer payment plans. Or, use Zeroing to see if your account is in its database.  Then you can take advantage of the Zeroing payment plans.