Manage Your Hospital and Insurance Company
More headaches and stress stem from billing departments in hospitals and insurance companies. Testing and treatment can be invasive, expensive and time consuming.
Hospitals often have their own billing processes. Bills usually contain the dates of service and the billing code used by insurance companies to classify treatments, procedures, tests and diagnoses. Situations often arise where you may be billed for something for which you should not pay. It is critical to know the hospital and insurance advocates.
Who Are Hospital and Insurance Advocates
Advocates ensure that the patient’s rights are upheld in a hospital environment or with insurance companies. It is important to remember that hospitals are a business. It is common in some hospitals to bill flat rate for every visit a doctor makes. Usually, this requires the doctor to visit the patient and note the patient’s chart. However, it is not unusual for a doctor to check in, find a patient asleep or at a test and the patient still gets charged for a visit.
Make sure you obtain copies of all hospital charts and records of all the procedures and the dates they occur. The advocates should not be your only resource but can be a valuable addition to your support team. Just as with any other member of your support team there are a few things you may want to consider and do before bringing the advocate onto your team.
- Interview the advocate. Ask them questions and make sure you are comfortable with them. They will after all be helping to represent your rights as a patient. If you are not comfortable with them, it will make your relationship difficult. Cancer can mean years of treatment and dealing with the aftermath financially, emotionally and physically. It is important that you develop a solid working relationship with your advocates.
- Know your rights. Patient advocates are there to make sure that your rights are upheld. If you know you are going to be in the hospital for an extended stay or you are going to be there frequently get in contact with the advocate as soon as possible.
- Make a list of any questions you might have and clarify any points you may have questions on. The more comfortable you are the less stress you will feel and the easier it will be to handle any complaints, issues, or concerns.
Insurance advocates work with your insurance to obtain coverage and dealing with problems in your bill. Cancer treatments are expensive. There are deductibles, treatment limits, and prior authorizations to consider for some treatment options. You and your doctor may have to fight to obtain authorization. An insurance advocate can go a long way to helping you battle for what you need.
Advocates also help to deal with complaints and concerns. They are generally familiar with various policies. They often have developed relationships with the insurance companies. This is especially true of advocacy groups. These groups are funded through a variety of sources, including the government and can provide you with a wealth of information as well as assistance. Take the time to prepare and generate an organized list of concerns, complaints and questions. Remember that these people are there to help you so it is important not to take frustrations out on them.
Keep accurate records, including the date, the time, what was discussed, who you talked to, and any phone numbers. Taking these steps along with maintaining copies of your medical records can make all the difference when you are working with hospitals and insurance companies.