Here are all the articles I wrote during November, 2009. I hope they're useful to you.

November 7th, 2009

How to Cut Your Medical Bills – Before and During Treatment

  • Ask your insurance company to confirm that the health care provider is in its provider network  — or you can simply ask your doctor or lab or hospital
  • Read your insurance plan’s benefits booklet (or online benefits summary).    First, look at the sections labeled “Exclusions” or “Not Covered,” you’ll find good information there.   If you have any doubt that the procedure will be covered, contact your insurance company, or get in touch with The Insurance Mom.
  • Don’t agree to any treatment without knowing how much it will cost if you do not have insurance or Medicare or if the treatment is not covered by your plan. Confirm with your doctor that the treatment is necessary.   Not sure how to have these little chats with your doctor?   Ask The Insurance Mom how!
  • Keep a log of every drug, test and procedure.   Do this yourself, or ask a family member to stay with you throughout your treatment and keep the log for you.   When you’re at the doctor’s office, sometimes your nerves get the better of you and you don’t remember everything the doctor has said.  Or sometimes the doctor is just too rushed and doesn’t have time to repeat important information.  When your bill arrives, this log will help you confirm that your bill is accurate.

Don’t get taken advantage of by your doctor or the insurance company.   You – with the help of The Insurance Mom – must be your own best advocate!

Next month… How to make sure you don’t pay what you don’t owe.

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November 4th, 2009

Welcome To The Insurance Mom!

Listen doll… I think it’s safe to assume you’re here because you need real information about, and help with, the insurance part of your life. I’m so glad you’re visiting. Yes… insurance, any kind of insurance, is a dark and scary place and The Insurance Mom is here to help guide you along the way. That’s why you’re here, right? This is where you can come if you want to feel safe and secure knowing that you’re getting straight forward information, in plain English, about your health, life, disability, short term health and Long Term Care insurance questions.

The Insurance Mom knows you don’t want to handle all of this by yourself. So sit, get comfy, read a little, learn a lot. And then give me a call on 323-654-2207, or send an e-mail to alison@theinsurancemom.com. Thanks so much for being here. Now, enjoy the site… I insist!…

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November 2nd, 2009

EOB – Explanation of Benefits

An Explanation of Benefits (sometimes called a Claims Summary), is a document the health insurance company sends you and your medical providers telling you how your medical claims (expenses) have been processed. For you it is simply an FYI. The EOB lists the treatments that took place, the portion of the cost that is covered (called the negotiated rate), and the amount remaining for you to pay directly to the doctor. From the EOB (or Claims Summary), the doctor (or hospital) will send you an adjusted bill. When you receive an EOB from your health insurance company, keep it filed away in a safe place (where the dog can’t eat it!) so that you have it available for reference when you receive the bill from your doctor.   Use the information on the EOB to make sure your doctor (or hospital) is billing you for the correct amount.…

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November 2nd, 2009

PPO – Preferred Provider Organization

With a PPO, you can see any doctor you like, or visit any hospital usually within a preferred network of providers.  You always have the option of seeing doctors or visiting hospitals that are “out-of-network,” but you will spend more of your own money on medical expenses.   In a PPO, you do not have to choose a Primary Care Physician, and you can usually see any specialist without a referral (although a recommendation is always nice!).   The PPO offers choice, flexibility, and more control over your medical life.

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November 2nd, 2009

HMO – Health Maintenance Organization

A Health Maintenance Organization (it used to be called Managed Care, but The Insurance Mom now refers to it as Mangled Care!).  An HMO requires that you see only doctors or hospitals on their list of providers, and sometimes at a specific facility. An HMO also requires that you choose a Primary Care Physician (often sight unseen), who will provide all of your medical care and refer you to an approved specialist if they think it’s necessary. Generally an HMO will not cover medical expenses incurred by seeing someone who is not in the HMO group. Usually an HMO will have limited coverage for emergency medical care when you travel outside your own coverage area. In The Insurance Mom’s opinion, when you choose an HMO you lose control over your own medical destiny.…

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