Let’s face it; medical bills can be confusing and mysterious. Bills you don’t expect can be even worse. Here are a few tips to avoiding surprise medical bills:

  1. Call your insurance company before visiting a hospital, if possible. Ask your insurance company whether the hospital, doctors, labs and other medical services are part of your insurance plan’s network. Pose the same question to your hospital or doctor. Ask whether they are contracted, in-network providers for your insurance plan.
  2. For a scheduled procedure, check with your doctor to make sure all parts of a surgery or procedure will be performed by providers that participate in your insurance plan’s network. For example, a surgeon can perform a surgery at an in-network hospital or facility, but that doesn’t mean that a specialist like a radiologist or anesthesiologists participate in your insurance plan’s network. That can lead to surprise bills. So insist that your doctor provide a list of all providers before a surgery and verify that these providers are part of your insurer’s network.
  3. Request an itemized bill from the hospital or other provider after you receive care. If there are charges that you feel are unwarranted, you may be able to challenge or negotiate with your provider. You can file an appeal with your insurer. If the insurer’s appeal does not yield a favorable result, you can request an external appeal.