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Health Insurance Tips

Parent Tips > Health Care & Wellness > Health Insurance Tips

Understanding Your Benefits

--submitted by Dawn Hampton, Ph.D. Organizational Services

1) Be an active participant in your own healthcare and follow instructions as closely as possible. Take a notebook to write down instructions.
2) Take someone you trust, someone that knows you well, with you to your appointments. They can help you ask questions and remember the answers.
3) Make a list of your questions or issues you want to talk about that way you can use your brain for paying attention to the answers rather than thinking up the questions.
4) Show up for your appointments. When you no-show it hurts three people: you, your physician and another patient that could have used your appointment if you had cancelled in a timely manner.
5) Do your own research provided itís from quality sources! Thereís so much information available help your doctor keep up.
6) If youíre in the in the hospital and you want privacy and to enable yourself to rest throw a hand towel over the door to keep it from slamming every time it closes. Feel free to have the hospital post a sign at your door stating you do not want visitors and have your phone blocked from incoming phone calls. (Doing so is as close to a spa treatment as youíll get in a hospital!)
7) While you are well, spend some time reading your plan booklet to understand your coverage. I know itís boring but it will save you major financial agony later.
8) Know when you owe a co-payment and know your co-insurance percentages. Know how and when you need an authorization to obtain care. Confirm whether your physicians are in or out-of-network.
9) Do not expect your providerís officeís to accept tiny payments as a sign you intend to continue paying the bill. They are not a lending institution. Pay your bills in full as soon as possible. Do not be surprised if they ask for proof of hardship to support your request for a payment plan. If you want quality, timely care, expect that youíll need to pay your bill or your doctor may not be in business or have restructured his business the next time you need him.
10) DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT put your medical bills on the bottom of your bill pile! Doing so will not speed up their resolution! Pick up the phone. If itís a question about your bill call the physician or medical facility. If itís a question about why your insurance company didnít pay more read your plan booklet or call the insurance company. Be a facilitator and get them resolved! If the insurance hasnít processed the claim within 30 days thereís a problem you need to resolve.
11) When you receive a bill and an explanation of benefits form from your insurance company match the dates and dollar amounts to ensure everything has been processed.
12) If you send someone a get-well card while they are in the hospital use the patientís home address as the return address. If your card arrives and the patients been discharged the card will automatically go to the patients home.
13) If you want your medical bills to get to the insurance company and the insurance company to process the claims quickly. Please legibly complete the entire patient intake forms at your providerís office.
14) Always show your current insurance card(s) and pay your co-pay at the time of service. This will avoid delays and reduce your paperwork.

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