Healthcare and Health Insurance: Being an educated consumer.

healthcosts

It was announced last night that Congress took its first steps to repeal many important parts of the Affordable Care Act. With that in mind, and many Americans heath care insurance and price caps at risk, I wanted to write a short piece on how to be an educated consumer and actions you can take to protect yourself against health insurance fraud and cut costs.

This will be an ongoing topic that will include interviews with health care providers, insurance companies and government officials to help keep you informed of how you can safeguard yourself from astronomical health care costs. With the repeal of the ACA upon us and massive deregulation coming our way, the government will not be helping us in this area, or let’s be honest, many areas, so we need to be educated consumers.

  1. Check pricing of how much a doctors visit or procedure should cost at Healthcare Bluebook.
  2. Price different healthcare providers on different procedures and doctors visits.
  3. Call your insurance company and ask how much they will cover for a certain service and what providers are in network and out of network. If a provider is out of network what does this mean for you?                                                                                                             I received a bill for bloodwork in the amount of $300. I called my insurance company to ask why and they told me the provider was “out of network”. They then told me they would negotiate a better price with the provider, it went down to $35!!! WTF! How the cost went from $300 to $35 I have no idea, but I tell you this to stress the importance of questioning every bill you recieve because you may get a lower rate. All of these companies are trying to get as much money out of you us as possible so don’t be afriad to negotiate.
  4. Challenge bills when they seem to high. Before the ACA, actually about 15 years ago          in 2001, I received a bill from Tufts for a hospital visit  that was over $10,000. I had fainted on the train ride to work, an ambulance was called and I was rushed to the ER. Thank goodness I had insurance because this all happened while I was passed out and in a haze. There was nothing wrong with me other than I hadn’t eaten much that morning. If I were in a better state I would have told the paramedics to go home although I probably would have still gotten some kind of bill! The insurance company attempted to charge me for the entire amount of this transaction, from ambulance to hospital visit. I called them several times to inquire about why this bill was so high and upon their “investigation” into the subject received notification that this was a “billing mistake” and the insurance company then paid the entire amount.

Often times insurance companies send you fraudulent bills hoping you will pay them without question. So make sure you are doing your homework when it comes to medical billing and insurance. Because as much as you hate to think so, THEY ARE trying to screw you over.

Last but not least, take  better care of yourself. One thing we can all do is take action to prevent going to the doctor, massive health care treatments and costs by eating right, exercising and avoiding the sun and toxins from commonly used products. Keep following for more advice on how to stay healthy and fit.

So you have any tips you can share with us?

xo,

Hilary

 

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