Do you need
help paying medical bills? What do you do if you receive a bill
from your doctor for services that you think should have been paid for by
your insurance company? What if your doctor states that your insurance
company has denied payment, so you are responsible? What if it's hundreds
of dollars? What if its for an old date of service?
Do you pay the bill?
Well, maybe, but certainly not without
checking into a couple of things!
thing you will want to do is to call your doctors office and
find out exactly what you are being billed for and why. Sometimes the bill
will indicate exactly what services the bill is for, but it doesn't hurt
to make sure. If you have insurance that you feel should have paid for the
services, ask the doctors office why they didn't pay. Tell them you
need help paying medical bills.
They may have not billed
your insurance correctly. Verify the insurance company and the id #'s that
they used. Also, verify that the service they billed for was the actual
service you received. For example, did they bill for a routine check up
when you were actually there for a medical reason? Some insurances don't
pay for routine check ups.
Many times a call to the doctors office will clear
up the matter. Based on information from your phone call, the doctors
office will be able to go back and rebill your insurance for payment.
If you need help paying medical bills, do not stop there. If your
phone call to the doctors office did not clear up the matter, but you
still feel that your insurance should have covered the charges, call
your insurance company. The
phone number is usually on the back of your id card.
Ask them to explain to
you why the charges were denied. If the charges were denied, and the
customer service representative tells you that the denial is correct, ask
them if you are responsible for the charges. In some cases doctors are
contracted with insurance companies and they cannot always bill the
patient for charges that are not covered. Do not assume that the person
doing the doctors billing knows if they can or cannot bill you. Many
offices have people in charge of the billing that do not understand all of
the insurance guidelines.
An example of a
situation where the doctor can not bill you for the services is if the
charges were denied for timely filing. Some insurance companies require
that a doctor submit the insurance claim to them within a specific time
period, for example, within 90 days of the date of service. It is in the
contract that the doctor signs, and it states that if the doctor does not
submit the claim in that time period, the claim will be denied and the
doctor CAN NOT bill the patient.
I have seen many
cases where the doctors office attempts to collect the money from the
patient. However it is not the patients fault that the doctors staff did
not submit the claim on time. The patient goes to the provider knowing
that the provider accepts their insurance and expecting the doctor to be
paid by the insurance company.
the services can be reprocessed by the insurance company simply based
on information that they receive from you during your phone call.
Sometimes services are simply denied due to human error on the part of the
insurance company. Since so many things are automated, the denial may be due to a
computer glitch. In any case, it is well worth the phone call to determine
if the charges can be paid.
There are obviously
many other reasons that the services may have been denied by the insurance
company. In some cases the services are denied simply because the
particular service is not covered under your plan. If it turns out that
the claim was denied correctly, and you are responsible for paying your
doctor, you should try to make arrangements with the office regarding your
If the amount due is larger than you can pay at one time, ask if it is ok
to make payments. It is ok to ask if they will discount the bill,
since it is not covered by your insurance. Tell them you need help paying medical bills.
They may not, but you won't know if you don't ask.
Don't just pay a bill because you receive it. Unless you know for sure
that you are responsible for the amount you are being billed, you should
always check into it especially when you need help paying medical
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