In the animal kingdom, survival has always been for the fittest. Humans are not left out and this can be seen in the extents they are willing to go get good medical care and pay for it. This is at times done through the nose.
In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing on April 15, which claimed three lives and injured 264, according to the Boston Public Health Commission, many patients and their loved ones quickly realized that their challenges were just beginning. Some people were discovering that the price of a prosthetic arm or leg can range from $5,000 to $50,000, according to Disabled-World.com. In 2012, the International Federation of Health Plans reported that the average cost of a single day in a hospital in the U.S. was $4,287.
High hospital bills are a crisis for people throughout the country, many who have serious injuries or health problems away from the media limelight. One is Erin Taylor, an Orlando, Fla., resident who was born with cystic fibrosis and last year needed to raise $30,000 for a double lung transplant.
There is no way of avoiding the nightmare of healthcare costs but this does not leave you totally helpless. There are a few things that can be done to contain the situation so that not so much is spent. This involves negotiating for friendly rates.
1. If you have insurance, know your benefits and get in-network care
Before receiving medical services, be sure they are covered by your health insurance benefits and know at what dollar amount or percentage they are covered. Also find out if you must meet your deductible before benefits kick in, if you will be responsible for a copay and what the coinsurance will be.
Make an effort to see in-network providers and go to in-network hospitals. They have contracted with your insurance company and are typically covered by your health insurance plan at a higher percentage. Depending on your plan, care from out-of-network providers may not be covered at all.
Check with your health insurance plan if you are not sure about providers and benefits.
2. Request billing codes for upcoming procedures and care
It’s unlikely your doctor or nurse can tell you how much your care will cost; however, they can provide you with specific information about your health care services. Ask your health care provider what procedures you will be receiving and request the related billing codes.
Having this information will help you arrive at a more accurate estimate of medical bills related to the treatment you will receive.
There are federal and state programs that are availed for persons have Medicare, are employed but still do not have enough resources to meet the medical bills. The programs do not offer much but it is better than having no help at all.
Medicaid (also called Medical Assistance) is a joint Federal and state program that helps pay medical costs for certain people and families who have limited income and resources. Medicaid will pay participating doctors, pharmacists, hospitals, or other providers for your care.
Each state decides what counts as income and resources, who’s eligible, what services are covered, and the cost for services. States also can decide how to run their program as long as they follow the Federal guidelines.
If you have limited income and resources, you may qualify for Extra Help paying your Medicare drug costs. The amount of Extra Help you get is based on your income and resources. If you qualify for Medicaid, one of the Medicare Savings Programs, or SSI, you automatically qualify for Extra Help paying the costs of Medicare prescription drug coverage. The income and resources level may change each year. The only way to know for sure if you qualify is to apply with your State Medical Assistance (Medicaid) office.