To Top

How To Avoid Surprise Medical Bills

Having a plan ahead of time on what your emergency resources are is imperative as well

The Beginning

No matter if you have health insurance or not, there comes a time where you will receive unexpected medical expenses. Sometimes this is due to out-of-network insurance billing, but other times it is hard to comprehend why you are getting a bill in the first place. The smallest of injuries can be the most expensive in the end. How are people supposed to know that?

How To Avoid Surprise Medical Bills


With healthcare in America a hot-button issue, many are wondering what the lifespan of Obamacare will be, with conservatives looking primed to take over the Supreme Court and knock the healthcare plan down. Still, this problem happens whether you have a low-deductible or high-deductible plan. Luckily, there are a few tips on how to avoid surprise medical bills.


Unexpected Medical Expenses

The first thing is first. You should know what your deductible is. A survey created by HSA Bank found that almost half of Americans did not know what their medical deductible was. By knowing what your deducible is, you can have a better grasp on knowing if bills will come in or not. However, this strategy does not always keep unexpected medical expenses at bay.

Secondly, you need to understand what in-network and out-of-network mean. Even if a medical provider says that are in your network, there may be some things, in surgery, for example, that are out-of-network charges leading to a bill. The Journal of American Medical Association collected data stating that 1 in 5 Americans still had out-of-network expenses even when they went with an in-network provider. Add the fact that 41% of Americans have at least $1,000 in savings, and this problem becomes a problem for many families in the United States of America.

How To Avoid Surprise Medical Bills

Pre-Approval and insurance codes

Pre-Approval and insurance codes are another way to stay away from out-of-network insurance billing. When you have a check-up at the doctor, ask for insurance codes connected with any test or procedure. You can then talk with your insurance company about what the real costs to you will be. Making this phone call might seem like extra work, but it will save you a lot of time compared to disputing any bill.

By finding all the places you would need to go medically for you and your family, this direction will give you a clear path of where to go, instead of going to the first place you see due to a medical emergency. If you go to the latter, you will very well be paying thousands of dollars out of pocket due to your neglect.

Having A Healthcare Advocate

Many hospitals have policies that may be different from their contractors. For example, the hospital may be in your network for foot surgery, but the contractor they hired out may not be. Understand this before the procedure will allow you to look elsewhere for an in-network surgery.

Lastly, consider a healthcare advocate. You may not have all the time in the world to look up who is in-network and who is not. Having a healthcare advocate can make all the difference.

How To Avoid Surprise Medical Bills
Credit: Steve Buissinne via Pixabay

There are people you can hire out to help with this. But, if you are looking to save even more money than the money you will be saving from not getting unexpected bills, ask a friend or family member for help. You may know someone who has a keen eye for insurance. Use them to your advantage and reap the benefits in the end. Just make sure to take them out for dinner or something to say thank you.


Signing Off

Now that you know how to avoid surprise medical bills, do you not feel a little freer? By following these simple techniques, you can save thousands of dollars a year because you have done your due diligence. Then, you can spend that extra money on things you want instead.


More in Financial Adviser