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Monday, May 3, 2010

Five Ways To Avoid Or Dispute Surprise Medical Bills

1. Stay In Your Network This is the best way you can avoid extra charges. 2. Double Check Everything The first time you visit a doctor, always call to verify that he or she is in your network. Websites can sometimes be outdated and mix-ups happen. Also make sure before you're admitted to a hospital that you will be treated by doctors in your network. That way you won't be hit up for "balance bills". 3. Negotiate Everything Upfront If you know you must go out of your network, be ready to talk money before you are treated. Keep in mind that even in emergency situations, insurers only pay what they deem as "usual" and "customary" treatments in your area. So if your P.P.O pays 80% of out of network charges, that means 80% of reasonable and customary fees. If your doctor charges well above what the insurance company deems reasonable, you may be "balanced billed" for the difference. So ask the out-of-network doctor what the charges for your care will be. Than check with your insurer to see how their payouts match up. Armed with this info, you can negotiate with the doctor to accept the insurance company payment in full. If you want to use an out-of-network hospital, you'll also need to get pre-approval on surgeon's fees and other charges. 4. Negotiate Everything Afterwards Too When you get a balance bill, don't hesitate to call the doctor and ask why he or she feels the insurance payment is not sufficient and why you were not told about the extra fees ahead of time. 5. File An Appeal If you feel your insurance company is not paying its fare share, consider a formal appeal. (If you found this post helpful,why not click on the small "envelope icon" below and e-mail this post to ten of your friends or family members.)