Not paying close attention to who is performing your medical procedures can
cost you a lot of money.
What happens next is typical! A patient goes to see their doctor for a physical. The doctor draws blood and does an EKG in their office. When the bill comes for the EKG, the patient finds out the doctor was not authorized. The patient could easily be on the hook for 100% of the cost, and EKGs can be really expensive. The doctor sent the blood work to Quest Diagnostics for analysis. It turns out that, under the terms of the patient’s policy, Quest is not a preferred provider. Because they used someone outside the network, the patient has to pay, out of pocket, 50% or more of the cost of the blood work vs $15 for a co-pay.
Depending on the number of tests ordered this could cost hundreds of dollars.
No matter what company you choose for your insurance and no matter which policy option of theirs you chose, you can save some money in 2020 by following the suggestions below:
1) Before You Go to the ER, go to Urgent Care.
2) Sign up for a discount prescription drug application. Whether or not your current insurance policy covers your prescriptions, these applications can still save you up to 80% on your medications. You don’t have to use them for all your meds; compare the price you pay for meds using the app with what you would pay for those meds if you purchase them through your insurance. Choose the option, be it app or insurance, that will cost you the least.
3) Make sure you consistently use in network care providers and speak up if you are told you have to choose otherwise.
This means that if you have surgery, check to make sure that not only is your hospital is in-network, but also the surgeon, the anesthesiologist, your post-acute care, therapist, etc.
If your doctor draws blood for testing, make sure they send it to a lab that your insurance covers. If the doctor wants to do any tests in their office or use their own lab, make sure the doctor’s office is covered.
If a third party is providing care, make sure the agency is covered. If you find out the chosen provider is not covered, speak up. Insist that they use someone who is fully covered.
If they tell you you must use their out of network provider, negotiate the costs upfront.
4) Verify whether or not you are covered for out of state, non-urgent care. If you are not covered and you suffer from a chronic illness, make sure you get supplemental coverage when you travel. If you don’t you will be on the hook for 100% of the cost of care, with the possible exception of care delivered in an ER.5) Put money into a Health Savings Account, if you can.