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How Do You Know If You Are Due a Refund on Your Medical Bill?

If you are one of the thousands of American patients owing huge sums of money to a hospital or your doctor, add another kind of problem to the list: reports from communities around the country show that it can often be extremely difficult to get your money back if you do overpay at the doctor’s office.

Did I say “overpay”? How does this happen? Medical bill overpayment, like many other kinds of clerical errors, can often be attributed to the unnecessary complex ‘triangular’ billing arrangement between a provider, a patient, and that patient’s health care insurer. Over the years, most American consumers have become convinced that getting insured is the right way to go to avoid high health care costs and risks of medical bankruptcy. Paying out of pocket for medical care has become impossible for the vast majority of Americans, and so, many of us, by various means, have lined up to sign onto a policy from a health care insurer in our state of residence.

With consumer directed health care plans and high deductibles, though, that is no longer the case.

In many cases, consumers overpay on medical debt because they get an obsolete bill from their provider. The bill that they got from the provider does not show submission to the insurance company, which may have happened in the interim. Nor does it show any payment. However, in many cases, the provider billed late, or the insurer paid late, or both. Patients who don’t understand the complicated dance of health care finance often open their wallets before questioning a bill, only to find that money tied up in red tape when they iron the issue out.

Another example is when your provider does not verify your insurance benefits prior to your visit. You arrive to your appointment and may be expected to pay your deductible and or co-pay, at the time of service. The medical office’s staff may ask you if you have a co-pay. You don’t know exactly and hand over your card. There may be an amount listed on your card but it may not apply for the physician type you are visiting. The staff person may then take that amount and tell you if it is less, you will receive a refund. The foolproof way is to actually verify the benefits with your insurance carrier. While forward thinking practices are doing this, many are not.

Making Overpayments Right

It can be great news to get an updated letter from your health care provider stating that, in fact, your insurance has paid your bill for you. The trick can be getting back that money that you already paid to your doctor’s office.

One big problem is the use of inferior billing services. Providers may sign up for automated accounts receivable and accounts payable finance without asking the tough questions about how they are represented by this specialized office. In some cases, the finance company doesn’t treat accounts payable with the same care that they do the other side of the operation. Companies can be aggressive in collecting money from patients but very slow to dole it back out if there has been a mistake. Stories of patients waiting months to get medical refunds often show up in the news when these discouraged ‘creditors’ turn to their local media for help. When the news reporters have to show up to get a check in the mail, there’s something wrong.

What can you do to protect yourself? Consumer advocates suggest always checking the explanation of benefits form or EOB from your insurer and make sure that it matches the bills that you got from a provider. And, know what your co-pay, deductible and coverage is before you show up at your doctor’s office.

India as a Medical Tourism Destination

This article answers all these questions buzzing in your head with insightful, helpful and up-to-date medical tourism information relevant to India!

India has fast emerged as the preferred choice of many foreign patients looking for quality, timely and professional health care services and wellness programs with affordable options offered to them from the leading hospitals and clinics in India. Medical tourism India today covers the whole gamut of health tourism needs for the rest of the world: so there’s hope for those looking at top-class surgery options in India, be it best quality dental implants, lasik eye care, slick and safe cosmetic surgery or that elusive but not exorbitant tummy tuck or a spirit-booster with that breast lift/ face lift.

Even giving new life to that old ticker of yours with quality heart care and heart surgery is possible with the complete health check up package that can be combined with additional needs of a patient – or that of a companion for cosmetic surgery, orthopedic surgery or any other medical facilities India offers on a platter!

TMI simply acts as your professional and caring health care go-between and arranges matters so you breathe easy while deciding on which quality, affordable and customer-friendly services of ours suit you best when heading to India for availing premium hospitals, medical tours India and medical travel support that translates into time and effort savings for you – not to mention cash too.

India has an edge over other countries when it comes to offering comprehensive, cost-effective and timely medical care: it also offers an exotic, rejuvenative, adventure-filled or cultural -if you wish array of destinations to discover and revel in for the travelers!

These top Indian hospitals and nursing homes also reduce the long waiting lines prevalent elsewhere in Europe, United States and the Middle East while granting the very best in surgical, rehabilitation, post-operative and consultation advice in specialized fields such as cardiology and cardiothoracic surgery, joint replacement, orthopedic surgery, gastroenterology, ophthalmology, transplants and urology comes as a boon to global medical tourists.

India’s advantages in the quality medical tourism sector: bargains, budget travel, professionally managed customized tour packages and best medical care courtesy capable networking between hospitals and travel operators!

Those willing to bypass the endless waiting list and prohibitive costs of health care back home are given the choice of combining quality wellness programs and medical care with sightseeing, holidaying and concept vacation packages courtesy an expanding and foreign-market oriented Indian tourism industry. Innovatively packaged and strategically built up to accommodate airport pick-ups with other facilities such as service apartment bookings, special dietary concerns addressed through arrangements for a personal chef and a customized holiday plan organized by the travel agents allows medical tourists to India to regain good health, explore India and take back more than just a fitter body and spirit: they take back a neat little package deal of professionally managed medical solutions and loads of happy memories!

Specialized and affordable solutions in many fields available in India: medical tourism is an expanding sector expected to post the highest year-on-year growth in earnings in the fiscal year to March 31, 2007, according to a report by Reuters. Here’s why:

While India also has a wide network of professionally managed and marketed corporate hospitals that have tied up with leading travel agencies to offer low-cost, speedy and effective medical care to foreign patients, the wide range of specialties covered makes Indian solution providers hard to resist for those battling with serious medical problems, sky-rocketing medical bills and long queues. Since India’s expertise includes specialties like Neurology, Neurosurgery, Oncology, Ophthalmology, Rheumatology, Endocrinology, ENT, Pediatrics, Pediatric Surgery, Pediatric Neurology, Urology, Nephrology, Dermatology, Dentistry, Plastic Surgery, Gynecology, Pulmonology, Psychiatry, General Medicine & General Surgery, it has many takers from all over the world, but most significantly UK and US, where the costs of health care solutions is very expensive.

Opting for medical tourism to India also empowers the traveler with the opportunity to avail the best of health care facilities in India such as a full body pathology, comprehensive physical and gynecological examinations, dental checkup, eye checkup, diet consultation, audiometry, spirometry, stress & lifestyle management, pap smear, digital Chest X-ray, 12 lead ECG, 2D echo colour doppler, gold standard DXA bone densitometry, body fat analysis, coronary risk markers, cancer risk markers, carotid color doppler, spiral CT scan and high strength MRI. Each of these tests is carried out by professional M.D. physicians, and is comprehensive yet pain-free; thus, a whole gamut of services is provided for fee that is a fraction of the cost patients would pay back home, making India a smart choice for quality, comprehensive and cheap healthcare packages.

India hospitals and medical centers conduct all medical investigations using the latest, technologically advanced diagnostic equipment while following stringent quality assurance exercises, which ensures that medical tourism patients receive reliable and high quality test results. Though, it is true that the biggest draw for foreign patients still remains the very minimal waitl ist that is common in European or American hospitals and many top-notch travel facilities have a business understanding for offering “priority treatment” arrangements that can be made in special cases by the Indian hospitals of the patient’s choice.

So, is it any surprise when Reuters continues to report that the Indian health care sector concentrating on medical tourism inflow has bigger sales figures in mind and is set to post beyond 42 per cent rise in earnings recorded from 2006 to March 2007? Since these figures are driven by availability of quality health care and the huge rise in numbers visiting India for treatment, the surge in medical tourists to India can only be realized best in numbers: which have risen from 10,000 in 2000 to about 100,000 in 2005. The annual growth rate is expected to be 30 per cent for 2007-2008 with more attention being paid to helping India figure on the top choice list for foreign medical tourism patients currently being diverted to Singapore (the latter being an established medical care hub that attracts and envious 150,000 medical tourists a year).

Best solutions in India: names that promote India as a Top Medical Tourism Destination
Some of the best reports from satisfied patients and their referrals lead to further enquiries to the best names in quality and comprehensive health care in Indian hospitals such as The Apollo Group, Escorts Hospitals in New Delhi and Jaslok Hospitals in Mumbai.

Other top corporate hospitals like Global Hospitals, CARE and Dr L.V. Prasad Eye Hospitals in Hyderabad, The Hindujas and NM Excellence in Mumbai are steadily rising in popularity among foreign patients opting for affordable medical solutions while maintaining a high standard as these centers also have improved infrastructure, patient support systems (24hr call center help for anytime query and information exchange) as well as enhanced funding to develop further facilities.

High Success Rates keep the numbers flowing in for Quality, Speedy and Comprehensive Medical Tourism in India!

While it is an accepted fact that India has some of the best health care professionals in the industry and can offer a considerable cost advantage to keep this sector ticking, the reason for the boom in the medical tourism industry is also due to the consistently high success rate and the growing credibility of Indian medical specialists. Some of these Indian medical specialists have performed over 500,000 major surgeries and over a million other surgical procedures, which include complicated cardio-thoracic, neurological and cancer surgeries and achieved success rates at par with international standards (success rate in the 43,000 cardiac surgeries till 2002 was 98.5 per cent; India’s success in 110 bone marrow transplants is 80 per cent and success rate in 6,000 renal transplants is 95 per cent).

Furthermore, India’s independent credit rating agency (CRISIL) has assigned a grade ‘A’ rating to super specialty hospitals like Escorts and multi specialty hospitals like Apollo and even established centers like NHS of the UK and The British Standards Institute having indicated that India is a favored destination for surgeries (having accredited the Delhi-based Escorts Hospital) ease the decision-making process for many foreign patients particular about quality and cost-effective health care solutions India provides. Besides this, Apollo Group – the largest private hospital chain in India and Wockhardt Hospital are now JCI accredited and thus, the boom in the medical tourism sector in India is but, expected to get even bigger!

Click here to know more options for quality, affordable and timely health care options for you and your loved ones in India and the very best of budget India travel packages we bring your way!

On-line Health Insurance Application

Applying for your health insurance coverage on-line has gotten easier and faster. Nowadays, as everything is becoming paperless, some health insurance carriers may require on-line application. In a way, it is good for you since you don’t have to wait for an agent to come in to your home or work place and take-up anywhere from up to two hours of your valuable time. Most health insurance companies, and the agents that represent them, may have their own websites where you can directly apply on-line.

Still, I Recommend Going Through an Independent Agent

Here’s why:

• If you have a question, you can just pick up the phone and call your agent or send an email to get an immediate response.
• Most Independent Agents are available after hours to help their clients with insurance needs.
• An Independent Agent represents more than one insurance company and will find you the best combination of price, coverage and service.
• An Independent Agent’s website allows you to compare multiple premiums and plans from different companies, whereas the health carrier’s web site does not. This way you can pick and choose the health insurance plan you want for you and your family.

Know Your Needs Before You Apply – An Independent Agent Can Help

Before picking a plan, make sure you know this:

• That the insurance premium fits your budget.
• The cost of the monthly premium, deductible, co-insurance and the co-payment is going to be. First of all, you have to make sure the insurance premium fits your budget.
• The deductible requirement applies each year of the health insurance policy and it should be met prior to coverage begins. Higher deductible plans usually have lower monthly premiums.
• Co-insurance is usually a percentage (i.e. 80/20, 70/30 or 50/50) of the cost that shows how much the insurance carrier will pay for your medical bill. Co-payment is a specified dollar amount a patient is required to contribute toward the cost of covered medical services.
• Both co-insurance and co-payments generally are applied after the patient has met any applicable plan deductible.
• Based on your health situation you must consider what type of doctor’s office visit and prescription drug coverage you may need. Health plans are usually cheaper without that coverage.

Once the right plan is chosen, you need to gather all of your personal and medical information; i.e. primary care physician’s name, address, phone number, your last visit, reason for last visit, any medication prescribed, name of the prescription, etc. If you cannot recall the dates, my advice is to contact your doctor’s office to obtain that information (the same should apply in case you have been hospitalized). This will expedite your application process tremendously since it usually takes two weeks to hear back from the insurance carrier once you have submitted you application. If you already have an existing policy through a different carrier, I’d advise you not to cancel it until your new policy has been approved.