How I Saved $150 By Sitting on Hold for Eight Minutes

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Health insurance can be very frustrating and expensive. You know that you have a tough policy when you go out of your way to avoid using it. This last week I needed an x-ray. My doctor’s office does not provide the service and the urgent care I usually go to charges an extra fee. When I looked at my insurance policy I realized that the x-ray ought to be covered by the visit to the urgent care. I called my insurance provider and was on hold for eight minutes.

I found out that if the urgent care is associated with a hospital there may be an additional facility charge, but if you choose an independent urgent care, you can avoid the fee. A little research can save you a lot of money when it comes to medical bills. You can make the most of your health insurance by checking for these issues before you visit a hospital or have a major procedure.

Check for Hidden or Separate Fees

Some offices may charge you extra for splints or casting charges while others will include that in the cost of your visit.  It helps  to shop around and see what you are going to be charged before you go in for a visit, especially if it is not an emergency situation. You may find that some offices will charge extra for lab work or send you somewhere else to get it done, which will cost more than an office that will do it in the office.

Make Sure All Procedures Are Covered First

It pays to get pre-approval on all of your major tests and procedures before you have them done.

These are things like CAT scans and MRIs, as well as any surgeries. If the insurance decides not to cover something you may be left footing a huge bill. Surgeries can cost around $40,000 depending on the procedure and where you go. You can save yourself a lot of hassle by making sure everything is approved before you go in.

Take the time to verify you have approval with your insurance company before you go into the procedure. This usually means calling them the day before. If the doctor’s office submitted things for pre-approval, they should have it on file by that point.

Check That All Providers Are on the Insurance

Although you may have a procedure approved through a hospital, you need to double check that everyone that working the surgery is also covered. For example, if you have a surgery, you will receive a bill from the hospital, one from the doctor and one from the anesthesiologist. Sometimes the anesthesiologist will not be covered under plan so you will have to pay out-of-network costs on that portion of the bill. The same thing can happen for having your tests or x-rays read by a radiologist. It helps you pay attention to

Call Around for the Best Price

Different hospitals and testing centers will charge you a different amount for the procedures that need to be done. When you pay twenty percent coinsurance for an MRI, the different between $800.00 and $1500 can be felt. It may be even bigger if you haven’t met your deductible yet. You may be surprised at how much things can vary from place to place.

You may be able to save by getting outpatient surgery done at an outpatient clinic versus the hospital. Not all surgeries will qualify for this and the riskier surgeries should be done at a hospital. Additionally, if you tend to react negatively to anesthesia or other medication, it may be better for you to be at the hospital. Otherwise, you may want to look into that option. It is important to compare prices for every procedure because one hospital may not have the lowest price on every procedure.