Friday, April 6, 2012

Benefits Exhausted - What to do?!

Once again this week offered up an opportunity for insight on healthcare insurance issues.

Someone I know needed some continueing ongoing medical services that was going to be over $70,000.Their particular insurance plan had a limited number of visits for this particular type of service and they were well past. In other words, their benefits were exhausted for that service and the insurance just wasn't going to cover it.

Of course, then the question becomes how important is your health? Do you forego treatment because that's a heck of a lot of money? It's a hard call even if you can pay for it over time, granted you'll be paying until you're 100!

So what do you do in a situation like that? The first thing is DON'T give up because it seems to hard. Second is seek all the knowledge that you can!

If your insurance isn't going to pay because you've used up your benefits, start looking for resources. Talk to your state's medical association for providers. They may know of state or federal programs that are not well known to the general public. They may also know of state guidelines and laws that may help you out.

Also contact your insurance and verify what your benefits are. Also ask them for ideas on what you can do to receive treatment. The medical and insurance communities are full of information and resources that patients don't always know about. But you have to dig and ask questions to find out.

Ask the provider if they have a sliding fee program that gives you a discount based on your income. Some organizations are required to have such a program if they receive government funding.

You'll never receive if you don't ask! See if the provider will cut you a deal. A lot of providers will offer self pay or prompt pay discounts but you have to ask in most cases.

Make payment arrangements. If you make payment arrangements, be sure to take all your medical bills into account. Some trauma patients will make payment arrangements with the first provider that calls them after their ordeal. They'll promise to pay $100 a month only to be contacted by providers that they didn't even know treated them in the hospital. It's easy to have ten $100 dollar a month payment arrangements in that case! That's $1,000 a month!

Another option available nowadays is a healthcare credit card. Care Credit is one the first that comes to my mind. I will say if you go this route, be absolutely sure to make your payments each month. They're a little trigger happy on the collections if you miss from what I hear in the medical community. But if you're out of options, this might be an alternative.

The bottom line is, only you know what your health is worth to you. So don't get discouraged and dont give up. Keep searching for alternatives until you find a way to get the healthcare you need!

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