Friday, February 20, 2009

Medical - it pays to make the phone calls

One of the things I really dislike doing is arguing over errors in bills, especially medical bills. It often involves calls, return calls, faxes of paperwork, on and on. And you would be surprised at just how often I have to do it ... or maybe not.

Are YOU checking every single medical bill for accuracy? You should. Even if you have insurance, every single penny matters. From an insurance perspective, if your insurance is being overcharged, your rate WILL go up. Maybe not this year but it will be inevitable. Insurance companies are in business to make money, lots of it. If you or your group of people (speaking in terms of corporate plans) are costing them money, they will raise your rates. It is really that simple. So if you want to keep your premiums low, be careful users of your insurance. Go when you really need to, and scrutinize that bill or explanation of benefits (EOB) that you get from your insurance company detailing what was charged from your provider and what was paid. If there is anything incorrect on there, contact your insurance company and/or your provider right away. If something was charged incorrectly, even if you personally were not charged but your insurance paid, it will effect you in the short run or the long run in terms of increased premiums.

Also, make sure if you get a bill from your physician you are correlating that with your EOB from your insurance company. That this week saved me $68.24. I got a bill in that amount from a provider for my son. I matched it with the EOB from your insurance company which clearly stated we only were supposed to have paid the copayment on that visit (which we already had). I then got on the phone with the provider, leaving voicemail (as nobody ever seems to be actually at their desk) and explaining concisely that the bill did not match our EOB and offering to fax it to them so it would be easier for them to look into it. Of course, when I call I speak clearly, give all our account numbers and so forth. This helps quite a bit so they have all the information needed. It took a week but I finally got resolution that our account has been corrected and we didn't owe them anyway. Moral of the story is something we have learned over and over again - reconcile your paperwork and call right away if something is wrong. It may save you a lot of money because there seems to be a high error rate in medical bills.

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