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Can you afford an unexpected trip to the ER? You wouldn’t be the only one to struggle to cover this surprise medical bill. According to a recent survey by savings platform SecureSave, 63% of Americans would not be able to afford an unexpected $500 emergency expense like a hospital bill.
Covering a $500 surprise expense has long been a marker for financial health, and Americans struggled for years. Each update of the Federal Reserve’s Economic Well-Being of U.S Households shows roughly half of the country is unprepared for emergencies.
When so many people can’t afford the unexpected, it’s helpful that a FinTech platform like MoneyKey exists. The platform offers direct deposit loans to eligible borrowers, giving them another option in urgent situations.
After all, people still expect you to pay these bills, even if you don’t have the savings. A timely direct deposit loan delivers the funds you need to cover a minor emergency expense upfront. But more importantly, it gives you time to pay what you owe in installments.
How Can You Tell if You’re Paying Too Much for Medical Care?
When things are tight, the last thing you need is to be charged more than you have to for medical care. Unfortunately, fraudulent billing practices can cause your expenses to balloon.
To ensure you aren’t overpaying for medical services, check that your healthcare provider isn’t upcoding or unbundling your expenses. Although rare, they can have a big impact on what you pay.
What is Upcoding?
Upcoding is a fraudulent billing practice that involves charging a patient for products, treatments, or services that are more expensive than the ones performed. It can also look like documenting a more severe illness or disease on your records.
What is Unbundling?
In the healthcare system, certain procedures or medications that are often paired together are bundled at a less expensive price. Unbundling happens when a healthcare provider bills these items separately at their full price.
Why Does This Happen?
By billing you for a more expensive procedure or medication, healthcare providers can earn more money from your visit. That’s why both upcoding and unbundling are considered fraud under the False Claims Act.
However, mistakes happen. Sometimes, you may be charged for something you didn’t receive due to an oversight. Between the high volume of patients and a national physician shortage, it’s easy for something to fall through the cracks.
Billing software can also increase the chances of upcoding or unbundling since many steps are automated without human oversight.
How Can You Avoid Upcoding or Unbundling?
Read over your medical bill. Even though it may feel like you have to pay it right away, you have time to compare the expenses to the care received.
If you suspect something isn’t right, reach out to the provider who sent the bill.
If they push back on it, request an itemized bill that breaks down all charges, line by line. Check these charges against common billing codes to ensure you aren’t paying for the wrong price, and watch out for duplicate charges or misrepresented conditions. Highlight the errors and demand a correction.
As a last resort, you can hire a medical billing advocate to do the dirty work for you. But keep in mind, you will have to pay these professionals. Given that you already can’t pay your bills, it may be better to do this on your own.