With so much confusion about medical insurance lately it comes as no surprise that some people can get stuck paying some unexpected medical bills. But you don’t always have to accept this, there are some things you can do to fight back. 

When it comes to managing health-care expenses, having insurance is only part of the battle. Even with coverage, some people can run into unexpected higher costs due to high deductibles and out-of-network fees that can crop up. There may also be additional expenses related to testing may not be useful. 

To avoid some of these unexpected costs you can start at the receptionist. Instead of asking if you’re covered under your plan, ask if they are in your network? The reason is that your doctor’s office may accept your insurance, but that won’t spare you from a surprise bill weeks later if he or she is out of your network. Once you get your answer, be sure to document who gave you the answer and the date so that you are prepared to fight back if you get a bill that says otherwise.  

Speak up when your doctor recommends tests and prescriptions. Ask questions such as: “Is the testing facility in-network?” or “Are the doctors evaluating the tests in-network?” Don’t be afraid to ask about the tests and exactly why they are needed. 

Asking a lot of questions can help you avoid unexpected or unnecessary costs but knowing what your insurance covers is also just as important. Understand what your policy covers, including the details on out-of-pocket maximums, deductibles and co-insurance. Get familiar with your state’s laws against “balance billing” – a practice in which insurers only partly cover an out-of-network cost and leave consumers to pay the remainder, which can be thousands of dollars. 

Lastly, it is of vital importance that you document everything. Maintain a health-care log so that you’re equipped to fight back in the event of a dispute with your insurer. Keep track of any communications you have with your insurance company and your doctor.