11. Keep tabs on your health insurance claims/ don’t be afraid to ask for a discount

I learned something the other day.  My son had a bad ear infection that did not want to heal and so we ended up going to a specialist.  (Only to discover that his ear had healed from the time he saw his regular dr. until we saw the specialist 2 weeks later!!! GRRR!!!). 

Because of our high deductible, my husband and I have gotten into the habit of asking doctors offices and hospitals for discounts if we pay our bill at the time of service or as soon as the bill is totalled.  We had no maternity insurance for one baby and received a 20% discount for the hospital stay.  We agreed to pay in full within 7 days of the phone conversation in order to get that big of a break.  Our family practitioner gives us a 20% discount on office visits if we pay at the time of service.  In exchange, I keep track or our family’s claims from his office and his staff does not have to mail those in on our behalf. 

Anyway, back to the specialist appt.  When the appt was over, I asked the office gal if there were any discounts available for patients who paid at the time of service.  Yes, a 25% discount and you could use a credit card!  So, I happily handed over my Mastercard and got my 25% off.

A couple weeks later, I received a letter from my insurance company that said I may have overpaid the doctor’s office and that I should pay close attention to my explanation of benefits (EOB) when it arrives.  If I had overpaid, I was entitled to a refund!  Sure enough, my EOB arrived on Friday and I had paid over $100 more than the re-negotiated fee through the insurance company!  I will not get on my soap box of how ridiculous this is but I will tell you that I called the specialist’s accounting dept. this morning!!!  They have not received their EOB yet but will be within the week (I checked with my insurance co. to be sure!).  I will be calling them again next week to be sure I get my refund!!!

Anyway, my point being. . . . . pay close attention to those EOB’s!!!  If they show a different total than what your checkbook shows you paid- make a few phone calls and see if you can get your money back!!!  AND don’t be afraid to ask for discounts from medical agencies!!!  There is so much out right non-payment in their field that most are ready and willing to give you a break by helping them out!!  Just keep your end of the agreement or they will string you up for sure!!!

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