How Can Patients Avoid Unnecessary Medical Fees?2
To keep from dealing with aggressive or mean-spirited collectors, uninsured patients often avoid setting foot in medical facilities at all costs. A patient that can’t afford a doctor’s visit, for example, might let a cold go untreated until they suddenly find themselves with full-blown pneumonia. By then, the emergency room is their only option, and the cost of a hospital stay will far exceed their budget. Luckily, most hospitals – and an increasing number of private practices – count on medical accounts receivable solutions to help patients repay their medical bills without breaking the bank. But how can patients be sure that what they are paying for is right?
To avoid paying for unnecessary services or facility fees, patients should:
Ask whether the service is necessary. If your doctor suggests surgery or an expensive test, ask if there are any other cost effective alternatives. Doctors sometimes order the same procedures out of habit but may be familiar with other, less expensive treatments that are just as effective. Find out what the risks and benefits are of each treatment plan in order to make a more informed decision.
Ask for the procedure’s CPT code ahead of time. If you know which CPT codes your provider will be billing your insurance company for, you can do some investigating and find out whether certain facilities charge less for the same services. Though your insurance company will be the best source of information, websites such as fairhealthconsumer.org can help patients estimate local medical expenses.
Ask for an itemized list of charges. If you have ever been hospitalized, you are more than likely familiar with the final bill you receive after being discharged. You usually get a bill with a big number and little explanation. But what exactly do your $10,000 hospital fees include? Patients often report being charged more than once for the same test, or even being billed for unnecessary procedures. Some women, in fact, have mentioned being billed for pregnancy tests, even after telling doctors that they are pregnant. If you have a full description of all charges, you can make sure that you aren’t getting billed even a penny more than you should.
Keep in mind that medical facilities which employ medical accounts receivable solutions generally work with patients to provide cash discounts and debt repayment plans. Talk to your healthcare provider to learn more about revenue cycle management education and medical collections resources.