Medical bills are some of the highest bills we can acquire in our lives, and it's just to stay alive or get medicine. They can go through the roof and it doesn't matter what your financial situation is, sadly. Did you recently need to stay in the hospital or know someone who did, and they or you feel like you were seriously overcharged? Well, here are some ways to protect yourself or your family:
Keep Track Of Your Bills
Get all of your bills together and keep track of every one of them. There will be different bills for different services, so pay attention to what everything is for. Some will be from the ambulance (if you needed one), lab work, x-rays, the doctors, etc. Some bills can have errors and you can be charged for services you didn't receive. And if you had to stay the night and were discharged in the morning, you certainly don't want to pay for a full day.
Dispute The Charges
You can dispute charges for services you didn't receive, medications you already had with you, and things that were included in the cost of staying in a room for a day. You shouldn't be paying for sheets, gloves, gowns, etc.
Try To Negotiate Your Bill
If you don't have the money up front, try speaking to someone to get onto a monthly billing plan. Or you can ask them what amount you can pay in full all at once if it's a discounted price. There are sites you can go to that show how much other hospitals charge for what you were billed for, like clearhealthcosts.com, where you can look at each state.
Watch Your Health Insurance Coverage
Some bills could be rejected from your health insurer, or even medications, so you can appeal their decision. If you feel they should be covering you more, don't hesitate to call them on it, because sometimes they will cover what they rejected earlier. If that fails, find out if you're eligible for financial assistance from the hospital.
You Might Have To Hire A Lawyer
If everything gets too overwhelming or you truly don't know what to do, but you feel something isn't right, you might have to hire someone. You shouldn't have to pay any fees upfront because they will take a portion of however much money they saved you, once they are successful.
If All Else Fails, Look For Help Elsewhere
You know those sites people go to to see if people will help them pay for something? It's pretty amazing, and there are multiple sites that do this, like fundrazr.com, for example. Family, friends, and strangers can give whatever they can by using a credit card or Paypal.
In conclusion, try to do everything you can to reduce your bill and pay it, even if it's monthly. And do it in a somewhat quick manner or it will be sent to a collection agency and then give you bad credit. On top of THAT, they can charge you interest on the debt, which is a pretty vile thing for them to do. Do everything in your power to not let that happen, if you can. Good luck!
A Summer to Remember
As many of our friends know, our family has been keen on water sports. Growing up close to a lake and now living in a place where it is literally just five minutes away from a pristine lake, going kayaking has become a regular activity we all love. I recently bought the best inflatable kayak under 500 that I could. But our penchant for this water sport changed in a blink of the eye. When my daughter turned 13, she said that she would want to learn kayaking on her own and join a club where she could meet friends as well.
As a father, while I am confident with my kayaking skills, I opted to sign her up for a kayaking club. I thought that taking the class would inevitably help her gain the same confidence and skills I did when I was young and undergoing training myself. Boy, was I wrong or what! And this is why I became acquainted with the toughest personal injury attorney in our town.
In late summer of 2013, my family decided to head to Florida. Well, more so to bask in the sun, explore the state, and of course buy my growing girl one of the kayaks under $200 she wanted.
It was saddening to know that a vacation we all looked forward to took a sad and traumatic turn. As my other son wanted to do another activity, we decided to leave her in the Kayaking Club. The club boasts of the best instructors and according to them, reassured me that my daughter was in good hands. After an hour, I received the most horrifying news of my life. A employee of the club got in touch with me to inform me that my 13 year old was involved in a 'kayaking mishap’ and was rushed to the hospital.
The lack of details and the inability of the staff to let me know what had happened infuriated me and my wife. Luckily, while trying to get the most information I can get from the staff, a personal injury attorney next to our table overheard us and approached us. Thank God for that man! I was able to think straight and kept my composure while I was distraught and heading to the hospital.
When we reached the hospital, I saw my daughter there, shivering and clearly in trauma. When I asked her, the first thing she said was, “I told him that I could not kayak on my own yet, but he just let me". And somewhere in the middle, her nerves took over and the kayak capsized. She also said that it took a while before she was rescued as she got somewhat further downstream. From her statement, I knew something was not right.
That night, I met with the personal injury attorney and consulted him as to what steps I could take against the club and the instructor. It was not the best summer, but it was indeed the most memorable as that summer constantly reminds me to become more vigilant in choosing clubs for my children. We never stopped doing this sport, but we have become more careful in choosing clubs or instructors. As a piece of advice, immediately consult with a lawyer when injuries (whether minor or major) take place, even in the most unsuspecting places.
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