Keeping track of your medical bills and expenses is not half as simple as managing the other expenditures from time to time. For instance, when you receive a telephone, electricity or credit card bill, you know exactly how much you owe the service provider and the time frame within which you must clear all such outstanding dues. The process in simple as you are directly dealing with the service provider, and there is no third party involved.
However, there are several dynamics at play that determine the cost of a medical procedure or treatment you undergo. Besides, the bill does not land directly at your doorstep. In a majority, of cases a hospital or medical care center would direct your medical bill to your insurance company, which would then deduct its share of the medical expenses depending on the nature of the medical cover, maximum out-of-pocket limit and deductibles, and redirect the remaining amount towards you. The fact that the bill for every procedure is processed differently makes keeping a track of medical bills that much harder. It is, therefore, crucial to learn how to manage keeping track of all the bills in order to make sure that the adjustments made in the bill are accurate and in accordance with your health insurance cover.
Managing Medical Bills – Where to Begin
In order to avoid overpaying for the healthcare you receive, it is important to understand how the bills are generated and processed. The bill for a medical treatment may be delivered to you, in form of:
– Medical Bill: This is the actual cost incurred on medical treatment or procedure. If you are not insured, you will have to foot the entire bill on your own.
– Explanation of Benefits: However, if you have a health insurance cover, the medical bill will be split between you and your insurance provider, depending on the nature of policy. In such a case, you will receive an Explanation of Benefits from your insurance firm. This is usually followed by a revised bill that pertains to the amount you are expected to pay.
Sorting, understanding and managing these series of bills and making sure you don’t end up paying more than your due share can be challenging. The basic yet important aspects of how to manage keeping track of all the bills are sound organization and planning.
– Maintain a log of your doctor’s appointments and the medical care received along with the dates, including purchase of prescription medicines. This will help you sort out the bills at a later stage.
– A single explanation of benefits or statement from your insurer can pertain to several different medical bills. Make sure you place all the relevant bills with the statement for better understanding.
– Prepare different medical files for every member in the family.
– Having compiled all the relevant documents, you can proceed to prepare a spreadsheet that will help you decipher the break-down of the medical bills better. Include aspects like total cost of treatment, amount paid by insurance firm, amount to be paid by you, sum paid towards deductible, and the due date of payment. This will help you determine whether the revised bill drawn up by your insurance company is accurate or not.
– Do not trust your insurer blindly. Compare the statement issued with the original bill and your own records to determine if the amount, nature of medical procedure and dates mentioned in it are factually correct.
– In case you spot discrepancies in the billing processed by your insurance firm, take up the matter with them before proceeding with the payment. If you have been charged for a service that should have been covered in your insurance plan, file an appeal regarding the matter.
– If you have overshot a payment deadline, contact the billing desk as soon as you realize the error and arrange for making the payment at the earliest. Defaulting on medical bills can adversely affect your credit rating.
Understand Your Insurance Policy
An insurance policy is a complicated document, and a common person may find it hard to understand its clauses. However, an in depth knowledge of your health insurance plan is essential for tapping its full potential. Make sure that you get a summary of benefits and coverage along with your plan documents. This is a simple form that contains details about the extent of cover provided to you, in a simple and easy-to-understand language. Every insurance company is obliged to provide its customers with such a document. This will help you understand the exact amount of deductible, out-of-pocket limit, extent of cover and nature of procedures covered.
Not having time to organize and analyze your medical bills does not imply that you have to foot the bill for whatever your insurance company throws your way. There are a wide range of online tools, websites and smartphone apps that will sort your medical bills and analyze them for your benefit. You can get started by just furnishing your insurance details, and know how much you owe in matter of minutes.
Healthcare is expensive; and therefore, it is important to invest time and effort in keeping a track of your medical expenses lest your finances take a hit.
This was a Guest Post by Brenda Panin, blogger and a regular contributor to several finance blogs. Lately Brenda has been interested in health and life insurance so she spent some time researching iselect.com.au. Brenda loves to se her readers getting useful information from her articles.