If you received a COVID-19 hospital bill, you might be concerned when you review the cost of treatment. If you were in the ICU or on a ventilator, your bill could be in the thousands – even after health insurance covers the contracted allowances for an in-network facility. Before you make any payments, there are a few steps you should take to minimize a COVID-19 hospital bill.
If You Have Insurance, Make Sure You Know What’s Covered
The government and most major commercial insurance companies have made assurances that COVID-19 diagnosis and treatment will be covered at no cost to patients. Rapidly occurring developments can make it hard to know what that actually means for you. If you received COVID-19 hospital treatment and you think it should have been covered in full, your first step should be to call your insurance company to find out why you received a bill.
Understand Your Individual Policy’s Coverage
To avoid becoming overwhelmed by any bill you receive, your focus should not be on what the hospital is charging – it should be on what your insurance is allowing for those services. It’s crucial to contact the insurance company to confirm what COVID-19 treatment was covered at 100% of the allowed amount and what you are actually responsible for under your individual policy. Ask your insurance company for a copy of any changes to your policy in light of COVID-19.
If your policy is supposed to waive cost-sharing for COVID-19 related medical services, that should be reflected on any bill you receive. If you’re being charged for them, the claim will need to be reprocessed so there is no cost to you – this would be accomplished through multiple conversations between the hospital and the insurance company.
If your plan is self-funded and your employer opted out of the COVID-19 cost-sharing waivers, that means that you will be responsible to pay any copays, coinsurances, and deductibles that exist on your plan. This makes it even more important to thoroughly review your bill and call the insurance company with any questions about what was – or should have been – covered.
Check Your Policy for Out-of-Network Coverage
Even in a hospital that is in-network with your plan, COVID-19 hospital treatment can involve out-of-network services. If your policy has out-of-network coverage, the allowances for those services may not cover the full amount that was billed. You could be responsible for the balance – out-of-network coverage does not mean services are covered in the same way as in-network services. These details should be discussed with your insurance carrier to avoid unexpected bills.
Best Strategies to Reduce COVID-19 Medical Bills
- Determine if Your Bill is Correct
It’s important to examine your bill for general coding and billing errors. In addition, any disputed COVID-19 medical bill should also be reviewed for coding and billing mistakes related specifically to policy updates. Since insurance industry developments may occur faster than it takes for their computer systems to be updated, there could be claims that end up being improperly processed.
- Ask for a Reduction
Even with health insurance, you may still receive a large bill for services that were not covered in full, or at all. You may be able to get a reduction in your COVID-19 hospital bill by simply asking the facility for one. Hospitals often have programs in place to help patients address this issue.
- See if You Qualify for Financial Assistance
Having health insurance may not disqualify you from receiving COVID-19 medical bill financial assistance if you are eligible. Many hospitals have programs that can help you get a substantial reduction on the balance you owe. The criteria for participation in these programs can vary at each facility. Although these types of programs may be based on income level, it’s worthwhile to inquire with the hospital to see if you meet the guidelines.
- Negotiate a Reduction
If your bill is correct and you don’t qualify for a financial assistance program, you may be able to negotiate a reduction. Negotiating a COVID-19 medical bill requires an in-depth understanding of the medical billing processes. If your bill is particularly high, an experienced hospital bill dispute advocate can help to ensure you receive a significant reduction.
Get Help from an Advocate for Help With Your COVID-19 Hospital Bill Dispute
Disputing a COVID-19 hospital bill can be a complex process. Systemedic has been in the medical billing business for over 30 years and knows what it takes to dispute even the most complicated medical bills quickly and effectively.
Offering a fee-based service for those looking to dispute their medical bills, our medical and hospital bill dispute advocates are skilled in navigating the insurance maze and will not take “no” for an answer. To get started with resolving your medical bill dispute, contact us for a consultation.