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Getting a Handle on Patient Financial Management

March 14, 2018

By: Christopher Wolfington

Medical debt is familiar to most Americans. Insurance doesn’t necessarily make a large difference in the rising costs of medical care, care that many Americans cannot afford. Let’s look at some ways to get a handle on patient financial management and avoid medical bankruptcy.

Understand your health Insurance
Properly understanding your health insurance is of upmost importance to stay on top of your patient finances. There are a multitude of factors that will affect rates and bills – so having a firm grasp on the rules of your policy is essential to getting a handle on financial management. Ask questions! You pay your insurance provider to help you, so don’t be afraid to utilize their services by compiling all the information you can about your policy and how it works.

Look into HSAs
Use of health savings accounts (HSAs) has risen 15% in the last year, with the number of residents utilizing the accounts jumping up 2.4 million according to NHIS survey data. A HSA can simply be defined as a type of savings account that lets a person put money away on a pre-tax basis to pay for medical expenses – however an HSA can only be used if you have a High Deductible Health Plan ($1,350 for an individual or $2,700 for a family). You can lower your overall health care costs by using money in a Health Savings Account to pay for deductibles, insurance, copayments and other expenses.

Communicate & Negotiate
A big theme among Americans who cannot pay their medical or hospital bills is the element of surprise. Many people feel confused and overwhelmed when they receive a bill after receiving healthcare treatment, which leads them to put off receiving treatment in the future. This is a vicious cycle that can be remedied by communication between patients and healthcare providers. Discuss your bill with your provider before beginning the healthcare process or see if you can set up a payment plan. Simple communication could give you valuable knowledge that will help you avoid patient bankruptcy or debt in the future.
With millions of Americans feeling the pressure of medical debt, it is important to exercise financial management as a patient. Being aware of options and understanding your position as a patient is crucial to be stress free when it comes to your health.

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