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Wendell Potter, author of the book Deadly Spin and senior analyst at the Center for Public Integrity, joins The Doctors to share his top insider tips to help you get the health care you need at a cost you can afford.
Wendell explains that the leading cause of bankruptcy filing in the United States is insurance debt. He adds that it’s important to understand what is covered under your insurance plan and to ask candid questions of your doctor to ensure that any procedure you undergo is medically necessary.
Wendell’s Top Tips to Fight Insurance Companies:
- Take immediate action. If you receive a bill for a procedure you thought was covered, call your insurer right away and ask why you’re being charged.
- Ask your doctor for help. Claims sometimes can be denied due to an accidental coding error that your doctor can fix.
- File an appeal with your insurance company.
- Start and maintain a file. Keeping copies of all bills and correspondence can help you build a case for any legal action.
- Never take “no” as a final answer. If necessary, contact your state insurance department or even your state representative or senator for assistance. Be relentless, as insurance companies assume most people will give up.
According to Consumer Reports, before undergoing any surgery or procedure, every patient should ask his or her doctor the following questions:
- Why is this surgery being performed? Is it medically necessary?
- What are the risks of this surgery, and what will happen if I do not undergo the procedure?
- Are there any nonsurgical, alternative treatments that might be effective?
ER physician Dr. Travis Stork recommends that everyone become their own health advocate. Do your own research and make sure you fully understand your treatment options and the risks and benefits for each. Additionally, check online reviews for your surgeon and find out if there have been any legal proceedings filed against him or her.