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Dos and Don'ts of Health Insurance and Medical Billing

An important part of managing your own health care is knowing what your health insurance plan covers and understanding the medical bills that you receive. Read on for some important tips on how to avoid unexpected charges and billing issues.

DO know what's covered.

Read your health insurance policy. If you are not sure if something is covered, call the phone number on your insurance card to ask for clarification.

DON'T count on your medical provider to know what's covered.

It is not the medical provider's responsibility to know if your insurance covers something- it is yours. You can and should check your coverage before agreeing to any treatment if you want to be sure it is covered.

DO ask questions.

If you get a medical bill that is higher than you expected, call your medical provider's billing department (the number should be listed on the bill). You can also call your insurance company to ask questions about what portion of the bill they paid or did not pay.

DON'T pay right away if it looks wrong.

If the bill is much higher than you expected, ask questions first. It is easier to get the bill adjusted if errors were made than to get your money refunded if you overpay.

DO pay on time.

Paying your medical bills late can result in late fees, negative activity on your credit report, and referral to a collection agency. It is very important to pay bills on time so that your future credit will not be affected.

DON'T ignore bills.

If you have questions about a bill, don't just set it aside and hope it will go away. It is best to contact the medical provider, your insurance company, and/or the Wellness Office right away to get your questions answered. The longer you wait, the more difficult it can be to resolve a problem.

DO ask for a payment plan.

If you have to pay a large bill and you're not prepared financially, or you need a medical procedure your insurance won't cover, ask the provider if they offer a payment plan. Many providers are willing to let you pay in installments over time if your insurance will not cover the procedure.

DO plan ahead/save for big expenses where possible.

If you know that you will need a procedure in the future that isn't covered by your insurance, try to save up some money to pay for it. Find out from your provider what the cost will be, and plan accordingly.

You can always visit the Wellness Office with questions about insurance and medical bills- but remember that your bills are your responsibility!

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