A letter to the editor of the Florida Times Union offers some helpful advice on dealing with high medical bills:
• Know your medical benefits. You need to know what’s covered by insurance and what’s not. All policies include a summary of benefits that will explain how different types of services are paid. The more knowledge you have about your coverage the more likely you are to obtain the benefits you’ve paid for.
• Get organized. Match the Explanation of Benefits from the insurance company with the bills from the providers before you pay. If you’re unable to match charges and payments, ask questions until you are clear on what’s been paid, what’s been denied and why.
• Review for billing errors. Mistakes are made by providers and insurance companies quite often, never in your favor. Most insurance companies deny claims and count on the “hassle factor,” knowing it’s easier for you to pay the claim than appeal their decision.
• Negotiate if you can’t pay your bill. If you can’t pay the bill you should call the provider and ask to negotiate. Be polite and respectful and explain the situation so they can understand your position. Administrators can be pretty understanding and compassionate when you are thankful, honest and realistic about your situation.
• Hire a billing advocate. If you’re overwhelmed, confused or frustrated, hire an expert. Rates are usually reasonable and they can even save you money in the long run.
For more information on the issues surrounding medical debt, please contact RIP Medical Debt.