As patients, we trust our physicians to order us tests and procedures that are necessary and important. When we get the bills, sometimes it’s a shock, but we typically pay because of the trust built with our provider. However, what do you do when you receive a bill that is unexpectedly thousands and thousands of dollars? Be your own advocate. Read carefully. Then call a medical bill negotiator.
Here's one patient's story and what she did to set things straight.
Surprise! You owe big time.
A nightmare situation occurred for patient Elizabeth Moreno after she had back surgery, was finishing her education degree, and was pregnant with twins. On top of a long road to recovery, she was sent a bill for more than $17,000 from a lab who tested her urine for opioid abuse.
The lab had tested her urine sample that her surgeon ordered for drugs that she had never heard of, much less taken. While it may be routine to order lab tests for patients who must take pain medicine for a longer period, getting tested for such a wide array of drugs is not routine.
Why is this happening?
Because opioid abuse has been on the rise, testing for some routine drugs to monitor substance abuse is becoming more common. In some situations, ordering these labs are necessary - to ensure your other drugs aren’t reacting with your prescribed pain meds and that some patients aren’t abusing their prescriptions.
Some labs are capitalizing on this, unfortunately, and are charging excessively for their orders. Insurance companies have caught onto this trend and are refusing to pay for labs that aren’t medically necessary. When the insurance denies the claim, the lab bills the patient - and sometimes it can be for amounts exceeding a few thousand dollars. It's like a game of hot potato, and most patients usually hand over their credit card or set up a payment plan without questioning it.
That's where we come in.
What you can do about it
A lot of patients assume that healthcare is going to cost them a lot of money regardless and when they see the bills, rather than learning how they can reduce it, they set up a payment plan or pay in full. Because of this, shady labs and providers continue to get away with upcharging for unnecessary labs, compound topical medications, or unnecessary MRIs.
But did you know you can negotiate your medical bills? While we aren't recommending that you question your doctor's orders, we do recommend that you pay attention to the bills, educate yourself on what is being ordered, what it will cost you, and what your insurance company is covering. Even if unintentional, a whopping 80% of medical bills have errors. And those mistakes are usually not in your favor.
If the fine print and confusing coding gets the better of you, calling in a medical bill negotiator is a good idea.
As part of our premier membership, Take Command Health uses a proprietary technology platform to analyze bills for errors along with a team of expert medical bill negotiators who negotiate on the consumers’ behalf. While most medical bill negotiators charge a fee or percentage, this service is free to our premier members.
And it really does works. One mom saved $500 after her C section!
Membership has its perks
Take Command Health knows how challenging it can be to find the lowest cost on your healthcare needs, which is why we offer our members ways to save time, money and headaches with services like teladoc, dental discounts, and vision discounts! We are striving to empower our members to become better healthcare consumers - and that starts with you!