As healthcare costs continue to increase, it is important for health plan members to look closely at the charges they receive. Medical bills are difficult to understand. 77 percent of Americans don’t understand health insurance or medical billing, according to Medical Billing Advocates of America. Having an advocate review medical bills and negotiate with medical providers on the health plan member’s behalf provides great value to members and plan sponsors.
While it’s rare to catch a mistake on a restaurant check or a receipt from the grocery store, medical bills are another matter. Medical Billing Advocates of America say an astounding 80 percent of bills for healthcare services contain errors.
“Medical billing negotiators are like tax-refund specialist for your health plan.”
Time Magazine investigated this problem in a special issue last February titled “Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us.” The feature article stated: “Since Americans spend nearly $7,000 per capita on healthcare every year — and since these expenses climb steadily, at an average annual rate of 6.5 percent — it’s probably worth scrutinizing the remittance from your last hospital visit. It just might save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.” Another article in the issue discussed the importance of medical billing advocates and described them as “the healthcare world’s equivalent of tax-refund specialists.”
Medical Bill Negotiation for Business is Simple but Powerful
Medical billing negotiation is a service that employees can incorporate into their regular bill paying process for medical bills greater than $300. The service provider receives a commission on the savings by charging the health plan member’s credit or debit card after the provider has agreed to a reduced amount. The member will be billed for the reduced amount plus the commission, which together will be less than the original bill. If the service is not able to reduce the member’s costs, the member will pay the medical bill normally without being charged for the bill negotiation service.
Assume, for example, that an employee receives a bill for $750 after a doctor visit, which would make a large dent in her health savings account (HSA) or health reimbursement account (HRA). She submits the bill to the service and receives a reduction of $170. The service receives a fee of $59.50, so the net savings is $110.50 for the health plan member. The details of the transaction are emailed to the member in a savings summary.
The process is quick and simple, but saving your employees thousands of dollars annually is powerful. From the employees’ perspective, a service to assist in lowering costly medical bills is a differentiator. You as the employer are already providing them with a cost-effective medical plan — now add on the additional gratification of receiving occasional discounts on otherwise expensive medical services. A medical bill negotiation service can position your organization as an employer of choice.
Medical Bill Negotiation for Business: What are the Advantages for Employers?
Improving employee satisfaction and efficiency creates bottom-line advantages for employers. Here are four benefits a medical billing negotiation service offers organizations:
- Reduce health plan costs. Lower medical claim costs for employees translates into lower costs for employers.
- Increase employee productivity. Trying to investigate and negotiate medical bills can be time consuming and frustrating for employees. Billing departments are typically only available during business hours, which takes employees away from work. Providing a bill negotiation service can free up time and eliminate frustrations.
- Improve employee satisfaction, loyalty and retention. Saving money makes employees happy. Helping them solve problems with healthcare providers will improve their satisfaction as well.
- Reduce the burden on your human resources staff. In the absence of a medical claims negotiation service, many employees will go to their employer with questions and problems. Employers can proactively address employee questions by offering them the right resources.
Medical Bill Negotiation for Business: Keep it Simple for Employees
Organizations that offer a greater number of options including consumer-driven health plans must emphasize communication and education as the new plans are more high-maintenance. Along with communication and education, employers should strive for simplicity. If the tools you provide them are too complicated, no amount of education will help.
A simple tool, on the other hand, will be embraced by employees in the midst of today’s highly complex healthcare. Submitting a bill requires less than five minutes of their time. After employees enter the billing information, the bill reduction service then negotiates with the provider to save employees money. The service contacts the medical provider and conducts a professional negotiation.
While it is possible that some employees will be hesitant to send a bill negotiator after their family doctors, bill reduction services are part of being a healthcare provider. The effectiveness of a bill reduction services, therefore, is based on reputation. They treat every negotiation as if it was with their own provider. The objective is to achieve a true win-win negotiation, and they work collaboratively with doctors because they expect to negotiate with the same doctors several times. Doctors benefit from the negotiation because anomalies in billing are corrected, and they receive information about the “market” cost for procedures. Medical providers also receive payment faster than is typical and reduce the risk of uncollectible bills. Doctors and providers understand the benefits of the negotiations, and increasingly they expect such a call.
AllyHealth’s Medical Bill Negotiation Services for Businesses
AllyHealth helps negotiate employees’ unpaid medical bills and support consumer-driven health plans. Our specialized negotiation team has the skills and resources to motivate providers to lower your employees’ uncovered medical bills. We leverage industry pricing data and ensure that providers are paid quickly. If employees need additional help with healthcare or insurance issues, they are easily transitioned to our Health Advocacy professionals.