Wednesday, February 4, 2015

It is worth asking questions

When Ram had his major surgery in 2010, Ram's dad gave us the advice to never pay a medical bill until we also had a statement from the insurance company that matched that amount.

Recently a lot of blogs I read have talked about little ways to save money. I was reminded of this advice from Ram's dad as another way to save money. We met our deductible last year in March because of Lamb 2's therapy. Almost all doctor visits should have been completely free for our family from April-December. Once January began we started receiving bills from hospitals and doctors a few times a week. Each time I receive one of these bills we call the doctor or insurance about it. So far we haven't owed for any of these bills. Either the doctor didn't file it with insurance, didn't file the correct number with insurance, or didn't wait long enough for insurance to pay it.

The one exception is a bill from October 2013 that I did receive a statement that insurance would not pay it so I paid it. The doctor says that the insurance told her they would pay it. Since it became so confusing the doctor refunded half of my money I paid. If insurance pays it I will get more of a refund. I don't think insurance is going to pay it though. In this case I took the time to write a letter to the doctor's office about what was happening. The doctor considered my case and refunded half of my money which was better than none.

I have learned it is worth the time to make that phone call to either the doctor or insurance or both. Don't automatically pay medical bills. If you do and you deserve a refund, it will take a long time to get that refund. And if you don't make that phone call and it wasn't filed with insurance correctly, they won't even know if it was incorrect.

Also, don't panic when you receive an $800 bill. Call and ask about it before trying to figure out how you are going to get money to pay that bill. Ask all your questions when you make that phone call instead of getting stressed. (Of course I'm telling you about this as an example, not that I would get stressed out about an $800 ER bill for Lamb 1!)

If you find out that you really do owe for that bill after talking to insurance, be sure to pay the bill promptly or you will owe more. If you are unable to pay the full bill talk to the billing office. I have found hospitals bend over backwards to help you make your payments. When I knew that we were going to have a lot of bills for Lamb 2's OT and speech therapy, I talked to the finance office before 2014 began. Lamb 2 and 3 ended up getting a scholarship for their therapy. This was another time that a phone call and filling out some forms paid off.

While we are on this topic, I kept track of every medical mile we had last year for tax purposes. One round trip to vision therapy was only 4.6 miles but times $0.235 times 90 VT sessions equals almost $100. That's only VT, not speech or OT or other routine doctor visits. It took discipline to record this each doctor visit and time to type it up at the end of the year. I will continue this even though we don't have nearly the amount of therapy as we did last year. Every little bits helps!

1 comment:

Kristen @ Joyfully Thriving said...

Very true! We discovered that with Nathan's birth and all the bills that came after. It's a hassle to call the insurance as I recall one day in particular where I spent 4 hours on the phone going back and forth to get things straightened out. I'm thankful I did because it was nice not to have to worry about doctor fees after meeting our deductible!