Many insured Americans are going to an in-network hospital for an emergency, only to find that they have thousands of dollars in surprise medical bills once they have recovered. This can create massive medical debt and even lead to bankruptcy.
When you are going through a medical emergency, the last thing you want to worry about is saving costs at your in-network doctor, but there are a few things you can do to protect yourself from these surprise expenses.
How to Avoid Massive Surprise Medical Bills
Wait for an EOB before you pay: Wait until you get an explanation of benefits (EOB) from your insurance provider before you pay any bills. Go through the services that they claim to cover and compare it to your bills. Make sure that everything you were billed was actually out-of-network. It’s possible that your insurance company isn’t meeting its obligations or made mistakes.
Communicate with your provider: Many people don’t know that you can negotiate with care providers on bills. See if you can get your provider to cut some of the costs that aren’t covered by your insurance company. Be persistent, and in some cases, you will be pleasantly surprised by their willingness to help.
Appeal to state insurance authorities: It is also possible that you, the provider and your insurer have disagreements about payment obligations. You might be able to appeal some of these issues to the insurance commission. This process can be time consuming, but it can also lead to a large reduction in your medical bills.
The issue of surprise medical expenses is getting more coverage and national attention as people with insurance are getting billed sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars without little or no warning. As more private contractors start to provide services in the emergency room, it’s possible this problem could become even more common. Communities are looking for a solution to the problem, but in the meantime, it’s important to learn ways to minimize or avoid these expenses.