How to reduce or eliminate health insurance fees copays, coinsurances, and deductibles in 2021?
By Natan Schleider, M.D. Written February 27th, 2021 4 minute read
The above insurance paperwork is what patients may get in the mail. It looks like a bill and patients freak out.
Health insurance is complicated. How many patients can define a copay, know what coinsurance is, know what a deductible is? In my experience not many.
As a patient, the doctor’s office either accepts my insurance or or does not.
Well it is not that simple. For example, many patients have plans called PPO insurance plans that allow them to see doctors ‘Out of Network’ meaning that doctor does not have a contract with their insurance company. These plans, which tend to be more expensive and better plans, allow patients to see a larger number of doctors.
2021’s TOP FIVE TIPS TO REDUCE OR NOT PAY COPAYS, COINSURANCES, OR DEDUCTIBLES:
- ASK ABOUT FINANCIAL HARDSHIP PROGRAMS: Copays are an amount of money you must pay every time you consult the doctor or go to the hospital or have lab tests done or have imaging done like x rays. Many nonprofit companies exist that help patients pay their copays like Copay Relief or Patient Advocate Foundation. Your doctor’s office can help you apply for these financial hardship programs OR you can go online and do that yourself.
- UNDERSTAND WHAT COINSURANCE IS. Coinsurance is a relatively new way for health insurance companies to reduce their expenses by making the patient pay usually 10% of the overall medical bill. Since this can get expensive, find out if your doctor’s office offers a Financial Hardship Program if you cannot afford your coinsurance OR find an insurance plan that does not have coinsurance.
- UNDERSTAND WHAT A DEDUCTIBLE IS. A deductible is an amount of money the patient pays BEFORE their insurance company will pay anything toward the patient’s care. Seek a low deductible insurance program and realize that if your deductible is very low, say 100 dollars, your 1st doctor visit may eliminate the deductible.
- BE HONEST AND TELL YOUR DOCTOR YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND OR CANNOT AFFORD THESE ADDITIONAL FEES. You may find doctors offices understand that these are difficult financial times and lots of us are out of work. If you cannot pay today, maybe you can in a few months when you have a job.
- FIND COUPONS FOR YOUR PRESCRIPTION MEDICINES TO ELIMINATE PRESCRIPTION COPAYS AND SHOP AROUND AT DIFFERENT PHARMACIES. I love to use www.goodrx.com since this give me a list of what my medicines cost at different pharmacies and gives me coupons to reduce costs. You would be surprised at how much pharmacies may be overcharging, shop around.
BOTTOM LINE: JUST BECAUSE YOU GET A DOCUMENT IN THE MAIL FROM YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY THAT SUGGESTS YOU OWE THE DOCTOR’S OFFICE MONEY, DON’T FREAK OUT. CALL THE DOCTOR’S OFFICE AND SPEAK TO THE BILLING DEPARTMENT. INSURANCE COMPANIES ARE WRONG ALL THE TIME.
For more information on understanding how to save money on insurance and medicines visit www.doctorinthefamily.nyc which is the new office / telemedicine division of DOCTOR IN THE FAMILY.