Friday, August 7, 2015

Tips for keeping hospital costs down

Outstanding medical bills make up the largest single category of consumer debt in collection today. You’re smart to take steps now to manage your costs. One place to start is by keeping a close eye on what you’re being charged. Billing errors are more common than most people realize.

I recommend that you do your best to keep an accurate record of your hospital stay, noting the dates, times and places of your admission, release, procedures performed, doctors who saw you and medications provided. Ask your spouse, a companion or friend to help you with this task.

Once you’re discharged, request an itemized statement from the hospital with every individual charge listed. Although you are entitled to receive an itemized bill, many hospitals send a summary bill unless requested otherwise. Check through the itemized list to make sure everything you’re being charged for is correct.

Check the following information for errors: 
Verify your insurance policy number and all personal information. Errors may result in delayed or denied payments from your insurance provider.
Correct date and time for your admission and release
Correct list of the procedures and tests performed
Duplicate charges for any services or procedures
Charges for tests or procedures that were canceled

If you find a questionable charge, contact your health care provider right away. Track all calls, noting the names, phone numbers and call reference numbers every time you talk to someone about your medical bills. This goes for your insurance providers, your physicians and their staff as well as the hospital customer service department.

If you believe you have been overcharged and you’re unable to get any satisfaction, seek assistance from a medical or patient advocate. My clients can always call me if they have questions on medical bills or other issues concerning their insurance coverage. It’s one of the benefits of having a personal insurance agent.

 There are other ways you can reduce your out-of-pocket costs for co-pays, deductibles and other medical expenses, including indemnity insurance plans and Medicare supplement plans. Contact me to go over your options and come up with a plan that works for you. Email me or call 440-255-5700 today.

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