What Your Patients Should Know About Medical Billing

Navigating the complicated health care financial system can be a nightmare since the smallest misstep can cost thousands of dollars. Pass along these simple tips to your patients to help them avoid paying unnecessarily high fees.

Tip #1 – Don’t go to an urgent care facility with an injury or illness that could be too serious for the staff there to handle. If the physician at the urgent care decides you need to go to a hospital emergency department for care, he or she is required by his liability insurer to send you to the hospital ER in an ambulance. The ambulance ride will likely cost you thousands, plus you will be on the hook for charges from both the urgent care facility and the hospital.

Tip #2 – Newly insured patients often go to out-of-network doctors without knowing it, leaving them with scary bills to pay. Always check with a new doctor or other healthcare provider to see if they are in your insurance company’s network. This applies to labs and imaging centers you may be referred to as well.

Tip #3 – If you’re worried about what a procedure might cost, don’t hesitate to ask your clinic’s practice manager for the details. It might be easier to do this via phone, so that the practice manager can get back to you later when he/she has the details.

Tip #4 – Spending a little more money on your monthly insurance payment will save you in the end. Many newly insured patients who have coverage through the Affordable Care Act (ACA, also known as Obamacare) plans are opting for the less expensive coverage options, but then being stuck with large medical bills when their insurance provides minimal coverage.

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