The fact that medical care costs money (even if you’re insured) pressures many of us to make our healthcare needs a financial decision. One of the best ways to ease this financial stress is to find out exactly what your insurance covers early on so you are pretty informed once you seek medical treatment.
“When it comes to medical bills, most consumers don’t know what they owe and why they owe it,” Kent Ivanoff says. “People may not be able to reconcile the benefits they get with insurance and what a provider’s bill shows. As a result, one of the main reasons why people don’t pay their bills is because they are completely confused by them.”
Your insurance company may send a packet to your home that describes your coverage in full detail or provide this information online. You can always call them as well and request to have someone go over your benefits with you over the phone.
In addition to knowing what your deductible and out-of-pocket costs are, you should record information like:
- Which providers you can visit especially if you have to be in a certain network to receive the maximum amount of coverage from your insurance company
- How much your copay is for doctor’s visits, specialists, ER visits, and overnight hospital stays
- Your coinsurance amount, which is the amount of money you owe a medical provider once your deductible has been paid
- Coverage amounts for preexisting conditions and prescriptions
Ivanoff also recommends that people buy the insurance plan that truly meets their medical preferences and budget for more coverage if needed.
“Some people buy a plan with a lower premium thinking they will save money but what they don’t realize is that their deductible is often much higher — to the tune of several thousands of dollars,” Ivanoff said.
Even if you pay a higher premium each month, if the coverage is better, this could save you a lot of money when it comes to future medical bills.