Insurance is an integral part of the American system. It is often perceived as an unnecessary cost by people who are immigrants or are temporarily working in America. It is important for them to understand that in American systems, insurance is not a luxury, but a necessity. Also, for most people, since health insurance is covered and provided by their employer, they dont really give it due importance and most often take it for granted.
First, you must buy a good medical insurance policy for your visiting parents or relatives, since health care cost is very high in America. Neglecting or not taking insurance for visitors can be a big risk that may lead to a huge financial burden on you and your guest visitor.
We often get calls from people who want to buy insurance only when they are in a medical situation or when their visiting parents/relatives are in need for medical attention. Remember, you must have insurance before the problem occurs. No insurance company will provide you policy if the problem has already occurred. Insurance is to cover unforeseen risk and is not for known or existing problems.
What will you do if you find yourself in a situation where you dont have insurance and need medical attention or you do have an insurance policy but it does not offer coverage for certain types of services or pre-existing conditions?
Here are some tips which can be helpful.
- If you are in need for medical service and it is not an emergency situation, do some research and find a non-profit hospital or facility. Such service providers may have reasonably low charges for the services they provide.
- If it is a life threatening medical situation, call 911 or visit the nearest medical center.
Billing: While most hospitals or service providers may not insist that you pay before they offer you treatment, some may require you to pay first. In some cases, the service provider may even ask you to sign a waiver declaration, stating that you would be responsible to make the payments.
Dealing with The Cost And Billing?
Unfortunately, hospitals or doctors do not publish their rates, and their bill always comes as a surprise. If you have taken any medical services, you should be prepared to receive an inflated bill sooner or later. In majority of the cases, the bill amount is substantially large; just a doctor visit can cost up to a thousand dollars.
Dont run away from the situation, if you have taken the services and are a good citizen, you must be ready to pay for the services. You should make some efforts to minimize the bill and find all possible ways to negotiate, waive, and reduce the charges.
- Talk to the billing dept: Find out if they have a waiver policy. Some hospitals have a waiver program; if the patient qualifies, especially if he or she is not in good financial condition, you may have to present proof of income.
- Request for discount: Accounting departments may agree to give some discount. In many cases, hospitals offer anywhere from 25% to 70% discount.
- Payment terms: Ask if the payment can be made in easy and affordable installments, such as paying X dollar per month for the next 2 years.
Every service provider offers different benefits, thus the aforementioned tips may not hold true for each policy.