Tuesday 26 May 2020

Marla Ahlgrimm | Saving Money On Medical Bills

Marla Ahlgrimm
Medical bills can easily stack up to become some of the heftiest payments for American households. Fortunately, according to Marla Ahlgrimm, retired pharmacist, there are ways to reduce healthcare costs. Keep reading as she answers a few questions about how to do just that.

Q: What’s the first thing you would tell people looking to save money on their healthcare expenses?

Marla Ahlgrimm: I would say that it’s important to check the details of their medical plan. Although it may be difficult to follow and the language can get confusing, all providers offer a full rundown of what’s covered and what’s not. This can help anyone looking to save money make better decisions about when, how, and where to receive services, particularly those considered elective.

Q: What is the difference between an in-network and an out-of-network provider?

Marla Ahlgrimm: An in-network provider is one that has an agreement with an individual’s insurance company. They lower their rates for the insurance company in exchange for being a preferred provider. When you use an in-network physician or health clinic, your coverage is typically much better and you are out of pocket less when you need healthcare services.

Q: Can you compare costs at different hospitals and service providers?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Absolutely. This is especially important if you don’t use insurance to pay for things like prescription medication, eyeglasses, and dental care services. No two providers are alike, and many offer special rates for cash customers.

Q: What is a prior authorization or pre-authorization?

Marla Ahlgrimm
Marla Ahlgrimm: A prior authorization, sometimes referred to as a “pre-authorization,” is a requirement from your health insurance company that your doctor obtain approval from your insurance plan before it will cover the costs of a specific medicine, medical device or procedure. You may be responsible for the entire cost of certain services without first, obtaining a pre-authorization.

A pre-authorization is simply getting an approval from your insurance company prior to having a procedure done. While many insurance companies do not require this for most common services, this goes back to reading through the benefits of your plan. If you move forward with a procedure that’s not covered without a pre-authorization, you may be responsible for the entire cost.


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