If you have insurance, it’s a good idea to call your insurer or check their website before you make any moderate or expensive health care spending decisions. Members can log in on most health plan sites, using their member ID #, and review their benefits, claims, etc.
Once you are on the site or on the phone with someone from your insurance company:
1) Make sure the lab or hospital you want to use is covered by your insurance plan.
2) Find out if you need a referral from your primary care doctor for the care you are seeking.
3) Ask what your total charge will be (there are many reasons that this will vary from person to person and plan to plan
4) Make sure the price the lab or hospital quoted you is the same amount that your insurance company would pay. If you have insurance, but have a high deductible plan, hospitals are supposed to charge you the same rate if you are paying on your own as they would if they were billing the insurance company.
5) Some health care advocacy groups suggest that patients bargain with hospitals or labs for a lower price. We don’t have any information about how often this happens or if patients are successful.
If you need guidance about how to appeal a bill from a hospital or lab or a decision from your health insurer, go to our Resources page and look for the topic ” Appealing a hospital bill or health insurance decision.”