We at Wasatch Smart Finance are not fond of the medical industry, nor are we fond of medical billing practices. We feel between medical institutes and insurance companies this “business” sector could not be more confusing. Not only that what the industry gets away with, taking a stab in the dark at what’s wrong with you usually getting it wrong and still get to charge a hefty amount? Think if your car mechanic behaved as your doctor did?
How many of you received a bill from a medical institute and it was way more than what you thought it should have cost? How many of you received a bill and you thought the bill was outrageous or even worse you received a bill because your insurance company came up with a bogus reason not to pay it. The last thing you ever want to do is ignore a bill from the medical institute, the earlier you address it be the more favorable the outcome will be for you.
When you get to a medical institute for treatment let them know right away that want to know how much everything is going to cost upfront. Many medical facilities try to assist with keeping this transparent and have financial counselors to help you weed through the confusion. Ask to see one, ask them to commit to the price of what things cost. Take a video of the counselor saying exactly what things cost. Another step might be to see what type of financing they have available. Ensure this financing is zero percent financing.
Another idea is to check upfront for medical institutes that use upfront pricing. Here is a startup called HealthCare Bluebook. They try to refer you to providers with upfront pricing and could save you hundreds to thousands in charges if you are paying out of pocket. They even have a mobile app you can use. My own costs for similar procedures in the same metro area with different hospitals differed greatly.
If you have insurance, call your insurance company to find out why they did not pay any outstanding items. If you have met your deductible already and have a large bill, take the time to find out what their appeal process is for medical claims. Most of the time all you need to do is submit a letter explaining why you are expecting them to pay. This should be inside your Explanation of Benefits (EOB). Remember the denial is just a first out the door no to you. Most of the time insurance companies do not want the hassle of complaints filed against them and will do the right thing and pay the bill.
Often I have received a bill that had no itemized invoice. I am unsure why they think it is okay to send a bill like this. Call them and let them know you want the bill itemized. You want to know every single detail. Don’t be surprised when you receive that bill there are numerous items you never thought you would be charged for. Call or write to them and dispute every single item with that institute. If the individual charges are ridiculously priced let them know. Remember this bill is just a first request for payment. They get told no by insurance companies, why shouldn’t they hear it from you?
If you have had no luck with the insurance company or you just don’t have insurance, you are automatically paying more for the same services than someone with insurance is paying. One of the big problems with health care in America is the medical institute must throw a big bill at the insurance company to get them to pay a small bill. Sometimes what they charge is 2 to 3 times as much to get that small amount. After reviewing the bill you receive from the medical institute be prepared to send them a letter asking for a reduction of the bill to mirror what an insurance company would pay.
There are always discounts if you ask for them. I myself have often gotten a discount (20%) by agreeing to pay the same day when I call the medical institute. If the medical institute has been nonresponsive to your request or still has not given you a price you can afford, then there are medical billing advocates. The people know medical coding and will get your bill down and only request you pay them a percentage of what you had to pay the institute. Don’t hesitate to contact one of these if you are experiencing unusually large medical bills.
A lot of times all of this may seem intimidating. You may feel lost and feel like you need outside help. If you fear that medical bills are going to ruin your credit please contact us as soon as possible. We would rather assist you when things are early in the game instead of when the bill has been passed on to a debt collector. If you already have a medical bill on your credit report, it’s even more important to do a free credit analysis with us.
Don’t forget to check out one of our other articles related to debt collectors being licensed in your state.