5 Tips for Breaking Down Unexpected Medical Costs
Medical costs can be daunting at times, and the fact that they’re also unavoidable makes them an even bigger issue. This is clear to see when you consider the fact that a whole 54% of Americans with insurance reported that they were confused by medical bills either some or all of the time. Use the five tips below to break down unexpected medical costs and stay well-informed at all times so you can employ accurate budgeting.
1. Know the Questions to Ask
One thing that can help you avoid getting a hefty bill that you don’t understand is to know what questions you should be asking in the first place. First of all, find out if the medical specialist attending to you is in-network. If they are, you can expect to pay a lower amount than you would if they weren’t. Next, find out if you will receive any services from a professional who is not in-network and know that you will pay higher costs if you do. Finally, find out whether the facility itself is in-network and make sure to use this specific term. It will help make it clear that the facility and professionals not only accept your insurance in general terms but also accept your specific plan.
2. Request a Cost Estimate
When you’re getting ready to get treatment, it’s advisable to request an estimate of the total amount that it will cost you. Ask for this estimate as early as possible to allow the providers ample time to prepare it for you so you don’t get surprises at a point in time at which you can’t reschedule your treatment or procedure. Common injuries such as slip and fall accidents, which account for almost one million visits to the emergency room in America, according to the National Flooring Safety Institute (NFSI), can have drastically different costs in different facilities. Keep this in mind so you avoid making assumptions that can end up costing you a lot.
3. Make Use of Online Price Tools
Most hospitals have prices for their most common procedures on lists that can be found on the internet on their websites. There are also a number of price estimator tools that can help you look at the costs of the procedures you need and compare between different hospitals. Doing this will give you a good idea of the total amount you can expect to pay, something that’s especially important if you’re uninsured and will pay for the treatment out of pocket.
4. Request a Discount
Once you know the price of your treatment, it’s always an option to request a discount. This allows you to get the chance to pay a bit less if you’re granted a discount, and know exactly what you’re paying for in the process. Most facilities will be willing to give you a discount depending on the procedure you’re getting and how you present your case, so don’t forget that this is a viable option, especially in the case of a procedure that can be done in numerous other facilities around.
5. Pay in Cash
Finally, find out if you can get a discount when you pay in cash. This can be granted because you will have saved the facility the hassle of filing insurance claims and paying transaction fees for credit cards. Details that go into billing and collection of invoices can be time-consuming for most facilities. For instance, the factor advances between 70% and 90% of an invoice amount, according to the Wall Street Journal, after the creditworthiness of the billed customer has been checked. The factor remits the balance when the bill is paid, less a factoring or transaction fee.
These tips should help you out the next time you need to get treatment, so keep them in mind.