It is shocking how common it is for patients in the United States to receive surprise medical bills, even when they do everything in their power to abide by the terms of their health insurance coverage.
When a medical emergency or other situation arises, you are faced with the dilemma of finding care from the hospital or doctor that fits within the insurance coverage that you have (assuming that you are covered). Even when you go to great lengths to ensure this, the tangled web of the healthcare industry can still result in you receiving a hefty bill. A recent article on Huffington Post titled, It’s Scarily Easy To Get A Surprise Medical Bill, Even When You’re Insured, looked into the startling reality of this situation.
The article details the story of a patient who went to great lengths to ensure that she received coverage in her network and covered by her insurance, only to receive a huge bill shortly afterward. It also pointed to a Consumers Union survey that found 30 percent of Americans had received an unexpected medical bill when their insurance didn’t cover costs.
Apart from much needed changes to rules protecting patients from these sort of bills, a few key ways to avoid surprise bills were identified and this is where a patient advocate can be most helpful.
How a Patient Advocate Can Help Avoid Surprise Medical Bills
The first way to avoid surprise medical bills is to check with your healthcare provider and insurance before receiving care, and a patient advocate can help do this when you don’t have time or aren’t able to. When you get a bill that you believe should have been covered, your patient advocate can ask your insurer for help, ensure your healthcare provider has acted appropriately, or complain to your state’s insurance commissioner.
In some cases when these bills cannot be avoided, you can negotiate with your insurance to lower the bill, and a patient advocate can be very helpful in navigating this process and ensuring the best possible outcome. An advocate can also help you to request assistance from your employer if you have health benefits from your job, which is another option that may not always be obvious or simple to understand.
Contact us to learn more about how a patient advocate can help with avoiding surprise medical bills, and the range of other difficulties involved with receiving the care that you deserve.