Filing health insurance claims creates some of the of the biggest headaches for our readers. Luckily there are medical bill recovery services to help with this. Martha Bradt is the owner of Health Claims Concierge LLC, a company that helps people file and track their overwhelming health insurance bills. Since 2012, Bradt has helped countless users sort through their paperwork and secure their reimbursements. JOYST spoke with Bradt about her top tips for helping people keep their health insurance paperwork under control:
SKIP THE PHONE CALLS AND FILE ONLINE
Did you know that UnitedHealthcare allows its members to file mental health claims online? And did you know that you if your carrier is Aetna, some UHC plans, Empire/Anthem/BlueShield CA or Emblem, – you can send an email to your carrier with specific questions about a claim? When you file online you can avoid those frustrating phone calls – and take back some of your time!
FILE YOUR OUT OF NETWORK CLAIMS RIGHT AWAY
Make sure you file important claims right away. Don’t let them sit in a pile! Make sure all of the information the insurance company requires is on the claim, including the provider tax ID #, diagnosis and procedure codes, the date of service, and the amount charged.
GET A CALL REFERENCE NUMBER
If you call your carrier to discuss a claim, note the time and date of the call, and get a call reference number. That way if you need to call back to follow up you can easily ask them to pull up the notes from your last call. When you are on the phone, summarize your understanding of the next steps back to the agent and ask the agent to make notes in the record. Better yet, use online messaging if it is available to you.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO ESCALATE
In online messages and calls to your carrier, ask them to ESCALATE (that’s the magic word) your call or message to a supervisor. You get transferred to higher paid, more capable help that way.
DON’T BE QUICK TO PAY
Never pay in-network lab or radiology bills (or any in network bill) until you see insurance payments on the bill. Check the bill against the EOB to be sure all of the codes were processed/paid accordingly.
CONSIDER DOUBLE HEALTH INSURANCE COVERAGE
If your spouse or partner and/or college child has the option to buy a good plan at their work or at school, you might consider double coverage. Double coverage is great for those with a lot of out of network visits. (HCC files those claims electronically with both plans listed on the claim.) A college plan will be secondary to the parent’s plan.
GET INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL COVERAGE
International travel coverage is cheap and well worth it. Go to Allianz Travel Insurance or Insure My Trip to supplement your U.S. plan for the duration of your trip. Your platinum card probably only covers *accidents* overseas not illnesses. For example your U.S. plan will probably cover an ER visit, but not an extended hospital stay, nor a different flight home, etc. Submitting ER claims that are a foreign language with your visa in a foreign currency can be difficult The international insurance carriers pay them right away and you are able to submit the claim online.