Medical billing may be even more challenging to comprehend than insurance. Most folks would prefer to just see the doctor, have insurance handle all of the payments in the background, and never give the bills another thought.
Regrettably, insurance frequently does not provide full coverage. Then, what happens? Here are some important concepts to know about health insurance claims in order to prevent unforeseen medical expenses, as well as advice on what to do if your insurance won't cover a particular medical procedure.
How does paying for my medical services and insurance work?
The mechanics of insurance and medical billing are covered in countless literature. Here is the fundamental description of how it functions, albeit there are complexities.
Your health insurance plan provides coverage for specific medical procedures and services, and it specifies how much it will pay for each service and how much of the cost will fall on you. Your health insurance plan will also outline which healthcare facilities and providers are in-network, provided you have a managed care plan, which the majority of Americans with health insurance do.
Before seeing a healthcare practitioner, always make sure you know what your insurance will and won't cover, as well as how much.
The majority of the time, a healthcare practitioner who takes your insurance will submit a claim on your behalf after you visit them. No of how much the provider has claimed in their claim, your insurance company will still pay your provider the predetermined rates for each type of treatment.
Your healthcare provider will simply zero out the balance if they are a part of your insurance plan's network. However, if they are out-of-network, you will be responsible for paying any costs that the insurance provider does not cover. This is why even after your insurance has covered its share of your expenses, you can still receive medical invoices.
It's also possible that the claim will be fully rejected, leaving you to bear the full cost of the bill. If your insurance company decides to reject the claim, it must give you written notice within specific time constraints explaining why the claim was rejected (this depends on the type of claim). Additionally, it must tell you about the appeals procedure.
What can I do if my health insurance refuses to cover some claims, and why?
Your health insurance provider may refuse to pay some claims for a variety of reasons. The four primary groups of causes are listed below, along with some potential remedies:
1. Human Mistake
It's conceivable that your insurance provider processed your claim incorrectly or that they misled you, causing you to see a doctor or receive therapy that wasn't fully covered. Or perhaps your healthcare practitioner billed you wrongly for your visit. One instance is when a free, preventive well-woman visit to the gynaecologist is labelled as a specialist visit.
Call your healthcare provider and insurance company to attempt and correct these problems first, and then, if required, go through your insurance company's appeals procedure. Medical billing is complicated and prone to errors.
It's also possible that your insurance provider was required to give more details, but either failed to do so or the details were lost in the processing, leaving your claim unresolved. Even if it may not seem like your fault, it is your responsibility to follow up with both your insurance carrier and your doctor to ensure that all the necessary information is given and processed so your claim may be reimbursed.
2. The supplier isn't part of the network
Contrary to popular belief, a healthcare provider's acceptance of insurance does not equate to coverage. You should also confirm that this medical professional is part of the network covered by your insurance plan to prevent receiving an unexpected medical bill in the mail. A provider who takes your insurance but is not in your plan's network will bill your insurance company for the service and then charge you directly for the remaining balance.
This usually entails paying greater out-of-network charges if you have a PPO plan. However, if you have an HMO plan, you might be responsible for paying the whole visit fee. Due to the fact that insurance providers may provide a variety of plans with various provider networks, it is crucial to confirm whether your healthcare provider is part of the network for your particular health insurance plan.
Make sure to obtain this confirmation directly from your insurance provider rather than through them, as they have the last say over what is covered.
The medical billing industry refers to this type of misunderstanding as "bundling," which can happen between your healthcare provider and your insurance provider. When a secondary operation is viewed as a component of a primary procedure, this is called bundling.
If an incision is necessary prior to a specific surgery, for instance, your insurance provider could "bundle" the two procedures together and simply pay for one claim. Your surgeon may, however, bill for the incision and the procedure separately, leaving you to pay for the incision claim.
Consider engaging a medical billing expert to assist you sort through the medical billing lingo and codes involved in these bundling scenarios.
4. A lack of referrals or pre-approvals
If you receive medical care without this pre-approval, your insurer might reject your claim. Some plans demand referrals or other pre-approvals before you can see a specialist. If so, be sure to obtain a recommendation right away to ensure that your future visits are covered. You should also check to see if your previous claims can now be paid because you have a referral. If not, you may file a formal appeal through your insurance carrier.
Most insurance policies also only pay for services that are medically required, and if your insurer determines that the service you had wasn't necessary, they may reject your claim. If this applies to you, you can request that your physician fill out a "Medical Necessity" form on your behalf (or any other information requested by your insurance company).
5. The medical procedure is not covered by your insurance
Last but not least, it's possible that the medical care you had just wasn't covered by your health insurance plan. There are almost always exceptions, so talk to an insurance company representative to see why your care was not covered and consider filing an appeal if you believe an exception should be made.
What common medical procedures fall outside of insurance coverage?
The following operations are not generally covered by health insurance plans, but coverage varies significantly depending on the policy:
dental treatment for adults.
surgery to lose weight.