Unexpected Health Bills: Tips To Avoid Them

No matter in what form or shape, bills are something that will always be welcomed with groans and sighs of resentment. It’s one of the banes of growing up and being an adult, and is sadly something we can’t all escape.

With that being said however, there’s a different kind of stress that comes with medical bills, especially if they unexpectedly come at your mailbox months after a visit to the hospital. However, per recent surveys, these bills are not at all uncommon, and are experienced by a lot of people too.

Thankfully, a few extra steps and simple strategies can be made to ensure you don’t get any more unexpected medical bills in the future. Here’s how you go about it:

  1. Learning is half the battle – For those with health insurance, January usually comes with a new package full of details about your current plan as well as what to expect. That may seem like a waste of time, but understanding your coverage via that update will let you know what’s covered, what’s not and what your plan’s deductible is.
  2. Always stay in-network – This one is pretty simple. To avoid any unneeded financial burden, stay with a provider, be it hospitals, clinics, etc., that is covered by your healthcare insurance.
  3. Keep asking – Always, always ask about coverage. We know it sounds annoying but asking is the only way you can be sure of what to expect from your insurance and healthcare provider. So keep those questions coming.
  4. Get some preauthorization – Ensuring that you do preauthorizations for certain procedures ensures that you avoid any penalties or non-covered procedures. So always do the legwork.
  5. Always plan ahead – Of course, it’s always best to hope for no medical emergencies. However, doing the legwork before one happens can be crucial. This can be done by checking which hospitals are covered by your insurance and what kind of service they can provide in case of an emergency.
  6. Compare costs – At best, some prices will be more cost-effective than another, and giving your insurance company a quick call to help compare them can be very helpful in preventing unneeded expenditures. However, don’t also cheapen out since this is your health we are talking about.
  7. Document everything – This is simple: Get everything in writing, whether it’s the bills, phone calls or any information that you need. This will help you know what’s right as well as help you dispute any charges if they don’t seem right.

hospital bill A New Jersey mom tweeted a photo of her son's six-figure hospital bill from an open heart surgery. Credit: Twitter, @aliranger29