Medical Articles & News

How to Handle Patient Finances Responsibly

April 4, 2018 by Christopher Wolfington

By: Christopher Wolfington

Review and check for mistakes
It’s well-known that hospital billing departments handle a massive amount of data. It’s commonplace for hospital bills to contain errors. According to Healthland, almost 8 out of every 10 hospital bills contain a mistake! You might be receiving a bill that is charging you for services you didn’t receive, or decided against with your doctor. The bill could be issued from the wrong date, or the provider could have included or omitted crucial insurance information relating to your final debt. This could cause your bill to seem unusually high, which is quite alarming to the average patient.
Don’t get caught unaware. Review and hold on to all bills and records you receive from your healthcare provider. If your bill is not itemized, request one from the billing department to see exactly how your final debt was tallied. Doing this could uncover some accidental hidden fees or costs that shouldn’t be there, and in turn save you some cash.

Learn about Balance Billing
Balance billing is when your insurance doesn’t cover the full cost of your procedures, whether you received treatment from someone behind the scenes or a specialist that is out of your insurance network. This leaves you to foot the outstanding balance.
Research your state insurance regulations to find out what protections you have from balance billing. Some states protect consumers from these surprise medical bills and some don’t. Being aware of this can save you from getting blindsided by a large debt when the bill arrives. 

Communicate & Negotiate
Open a respectful dialogue with your healthcare provider and insurer as soon as possible. Many patients report that often their problems stem from confusion and a lack of communication. Be up front with your healthcare provider about your bill, know the average in-network pricing, and what a doctor in your network would typically charge so you can negotiate a bill if it seems too excessive.
Ask your insurer for information on each itemized charge. You can appeal bills or ask the insurance company to negotiate with your provider for a lower rate. Don’t be afraid to exercise your rights as a patient. You want to put yourself in the best financial situation possible. 

Ask for a payment plan
Request a payment plan for your bill if you want to avoid paying a large lump sum up front. Hospitals are recognizing that payment plans ease the burden of healthcare finance on the patient and increase the likelihood of the debt being reimbursed – they will work with you. Planning out a proper payment plan with little interest could save you a lot of stress with the billing department, especially if budgets are tight. 

Financial responsibility is hard enough without the worry of an unexpected bill that could break your bank. Stay calm and make sure your healthcare and insurance providers know where you are during each step of the process. With proper knowledge and clear communication, you can avoid the pressure and worry of surprise collections. 

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Christopher Wolfington, Founder & Chief Revenue & Strategy Officer - FinPay, is a business leader and entrepreneur with over 29 years of experience in consumer and financial services. Mr. Wolfington is currently living in Philadelphia, PA and continues to use his entrepreneurial talent to identify key opportunities and solutions in high growth markets.