Avoid Surprise Medical Bills

billsThese five tips can help you use your benefits wisely.

57% of American adults have been surprised by a medical bill they thought would have been covered by insurance. [Source: NORC / University of Chicago]

Have you ever received an unexpected bill for an out-of-network charge—when you thought you were getting in-network care? There’s a name for that. It’s called “balance billing,” and here are five tips to help you avoid it.

  1. GO TO AN IN-NETWORK DOCTOR. In-network providers charge a discounted rate that is never more than your Health Plan’s allowed amount. Search regence.com to find in-network providers.
  2. TELL YOUR DOCTOR YOU WANT TO STAY IN-NETWORK. Even if you go to an in-network doctor, you could unknowingly receive out-of-network services. For example, your in-network doctor may send your lab work to an out-of-network facility. Ask your doctor to make sure you only receive in-network services.
  3. BE PREPARED TO GET IN-NETWORK URGENT CARE. If you go to an out-of-network urgent care clinic, you can expect a hefty balance bill. Plan ahead by searching regence.com for the nearest in-network urgent care clinic, so you’ll know where to get care when you need it.
  4. GO TO AN IN-NETWORK HOSPITAL. When you get care at an in-network hospital, surgical clinic or emergency room, Oregon law protects you from balance billing for healthcare services received in the State of Oregon. But it does not protect you if you go to an out-of-network facility. Search regence.com to find in-network facilities.
  5. BE A SMART CONSUMER. Start thinking of shopping for medical care as if you are buying any other service, like car repairs or travel services. If you have questions about cost, contact Regence customer service before you get care.
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