Need help paying medical bills? Turn to Health Proponent

March 8, 2012

The CDC just released a report entitled “Financial Burden of Medical Care: Early Release of Estimates From the National Health Interview Survey, January 2011 – June 2011.”  It contains some eye-opening facts, including:

  • 1 in 3 people was in a family experiencing the financial burden of medical care.
  • 1 in 5 people was in a family having problems paying medical bills.
  • 1 in 4 people was in a family paying medical bills over time.
  • 1 in 10 people was in a family that had incurred medical bills that they were unable to pay at all.

Do any of the above situations sound like something you and your family have been dealing with?  The good news is, you don’t have to deal with it alone.  Health Proponent is here to help.

What Health Proponent does

Were you hit with a large hospital bill that you can’t afford?  Are there errors on your hospital bill, or did your claim get denied?  Need help finding a medical or dental provider?  Or estimating costs of a treatment or procedure?  Want help understanding or filling out paperwork?  Do you need a second opinion?  Health Proponent can help with these things and more.

Health Proponent’s driving force is a team of Personal Health Advocates.  You will be assigned your own Personal Health Advocate (PHA), who is typically a registered nurse supported by medical directors or a highly trained benefits and claims specialist.  When you call Health Proponent, the PHA will listen to you, evaluate your issue, and will be your advocate while working to resolve the problem.  You’ll get a real person for real help—no endless phone transfers or aggravating recorded messages.

Your PHA can help save you money with Medical Bill Saver, which can potentially save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars.  If you have an uncovered medical or dental bill of at least $400, your PHA can attempt to negotiate that bill at no up-front cost to you.  If your PHA successfully reduces the cost of that bill, Health Proponent will share in 25% of the savings.

Your PHA can also work on a variety of cases for you ($99 per case).  Your PHA can save you time, stress, and money by tackling denied insurance claims, scheduling appointments with hard-to-reach specialists, finding eldercare services for you or a loved one, addressing medical billing errors, securing second opinions, clarifying coverage plans, and obtaining cost estimates.

Become a member today

If you want to become a Health Proponent member, or if you wish to purchase a membership for a friend or family member, call 1-866-939-3435 to join.  You can also visit www.HealthProponent.com for more information.  There’s even a 30-day money back guarantee on the membership fee.


Give the gift of health this holiday season

December 28, 2011

It’s the perfect gift for anyone—yes, seriously, anyone.  Whether young or older, insured or uninsured, male or female, Health Proponent is the gift that remains meaningful all year long.  The price is right, too—membership is just $29.95 a year, and it applies to the member’s spouse, dependent children, parents and parents-in-law, too.

What Health Proponent does

Need help finding a medical or dental provider?  Or estimating costs of a treatment or procedure?  Want help understanding or filling out paperwork?  Are there errors on your hospital bill, or did your claim get denied?  Do you need a second opinion?  Were you hit with a large hospital bill that you can’t afford?  Health Proponent can help with these things and more.

Health Proponent’s driving force is a team of Personal Health Advocates.  You will be assigned your own Personal Health Advocate (PHA), who is typically a registered nurse supported by medical directors or a highly trained benefits and claims specialist.  When you call Health Proponent, the PHA will listen to you, evaluate your issue, and will be your advocate while working to resolve the problem.  You’ll get a real person for real help—no endless phone transfers or aggravating recorded messages.

Your PHA can work on a variety of cases for you ($99 per case).  Your PHA can save you time, stress, and money by tackling denied insurance claims, scheduling appointments with hard-to-reach specialists, finding eldercare services for you or a loved one, addressing medical billing errors, securing second opinions, clarifying coverage plans, and obtaining cost estimates.

Another big way that your PHA can help save you money is with Medical Bill Saver, which can potentially save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars.  If you have an uncovered medical or dental bill of at least $400, your PHA can attempt to negotiate that bill at no up-front cost to you.  If your PHA successfully reduces the cost of that bill, Health Proponent will share in 25% of the savings.

Your PHA can also direct you to a variety of online resources available to you as a member of Health Proponent.  Update your Personal Health Record online, complete a Health Risk Assessment to help you understand your risks for various conditions, and use the convenient online trackers to record your blood pressure, list of current medications, and more.

Become a member today

If you want to become a Health Proponent member, or if you wish to purchase a membership for a friend or family member, call 1-866-939-3435 to join.  You can also visit www.HealthProponent.com for more information.  There’s even a 30-day money back guarantee on the membership fee.

 


Tips on avoiding and managing unexpectedly large medical bills

July 5, 2011

As if a devastating diagnosis or an emergency procedure isn’t enough of a surprise, consider this: often these tests and procedures are followed by unexpectedly large medical bills.  These bills can be bewildering, especially if you’re trying to deal with them while you’re still sick and/or in the process of recovering from your ailments.  One recent study showed that out of the 83% of survey participants who had health insurance, nearly 27% of them had difficulty paying those bills; also, 43% of survey participants who had been uninsured in the past year but who had since gained coverage also reported problems paying their medical bills.  These costs can be so daunting that they can result in bankruptcy.  The study also showed that the bankruptcy rates are nearly twice as high among cancer patients one year after diagnosis as compared to that of the general population; these bankruptcy rates (highest for lung, thyroid, and leukemia/lymphoma cancer patients) increased fourfold five years after diagnosis. 

Fortunately, there are several ways you can avoid incurring these large bills that could result in bankruptcy.  The below tips can help you plan ahead to reduce medical costs and can point you in the right direction when it comes to finding help negotiating unpaid medical bills.

Plan ahead if you can.  If you know in advance that you’re scheduled for tests or surgery, do your research ahead of time. 

  • Be informed.  If you are insured, know the details of what your health insurance plan covers.  Being insured does not always mean that your medical costs are all covered.  Ask your insurer and/or provider for an estimated cost of the treatment. 
  • When your doctor recommends treatment for you, find out whether that treatment is included in your insurance plan; if it isn’t, inquire about other treatments that your insurance does cover. 
  • Verify that the provider you choose is “in-network.”  While you’re at it, make sure that any labs that provider may use in the process of various tests they’re performing are also considered in-network, as well as the facility that the provider is in.  If the provider and/or the lab and facility the provider is using are in-network, your medical bills can be much less costly than if any of them are considered out-of-network by your insurance.

Emergencies happen.  Of course, you can’t always plan ahead.  Diseases aren’t exactly considerate enough to make an appointment with you or warn you ahead of time–so you may end up in the hospital unexpectedly.  So how do you deal with costs incurred from a surprise surgery?

Look to your benefits for help.   Navigating the healthcare system and making sense of complicated medical bills can be intimidating.  There are resources to guide you through the process.

  • Many employers offer advocacy services as a benefit to their employees.  One such service is Health Advocate, whose Core Health Advocacy program helps assist employees with clinical and administrative issues that deal with their medical, dental, hospital, and prescription needs, claims, and benefits.  A complementary add-on to Health Advocate’s Core Health Advocacy service is the Medical Bill Saver, which helps negotiate employees’ unpaid medical and dental bills whose balances are over $400.
  • Even if you’re not receiving benefits from an employer, there are still advocacy resources available to you.  Health Proponent offers individuals the Core Health Advocacy and Medical Bill Saver programs, too. 

Find low-cost or free dental services nationwide

January 21, 2011

In today’s economic climate, most people find it hard enough to afford keeping up with their basic medical care, let alone dental care.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Besides the obvious cosmetic benefits of taking care of your teeth, the American Heart Association says that keeping good dental hygiene could reduce your risk of heart disease.

Fortunately, the folks at WorlDental.org have put together an expansive database of free and low-cost dental services throughout the United States. The site features loads of information on clinics, fairs, and other places to get cheap dental care in Minnesota, Northern California, and Indiana; North Carolina, Michigan, and Maryland; Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New Hamphire; as well as New Jersey and virtually anywhere else in America.  The site is updated continuously, so if you don’t see a clinic or event in your area, check back soon.

Are you having trouble paying for dental care? Would WorlDental be helpful to you? Leave us a comment!


Use of medical services likely to fall in early 2011

January 19, 2011

Over the last few years, expensive insurance premiums and rising unemployment have made Americans reluctant to spend money on costly non-essential procedures and medications. This reluctance often has led to patients skipping out on appointments and cutting back on medications.

Despite this trend, Debra Sherman of Reuters reports that there actually was an increase in spending on medical services during the fourth quarter of 2010. This brief lapse in financial conservatism could have happened for a number of reasons, including increased confidence in the economy. However, it’s more likely that people were attempting to make as many doctor visits as possible after meeting their annual deductibles. With these deductibles having been reset on January 1, it is expected that people will go back to skipping doctor visits.

It’s important to know that saving money does not have to cost you and your family sound health. There are other ways of cutting costs where you can maintain good health without breaking the bank. All you need to do is strategize:

  • Be proactive. Don’t default to any single doctor. Planning ahead and shopping around will provide you with many options. A lack of options may subject you to expensive services – more options means more prices to compare. Search your area for medical services and be open to different providers – community hospitals typically offer the same services as academic medical centers, but at a cheaper price.
  • Like we discussed last week, don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor about a discount. It never hurts to ask.
  • Keep a journal to keep track of all of the services you have received. When you receive your bill, match up records to make sure there are no errors.
  • Make sure to stay on top of your medical bills – this means being clear on what your insurer will and will not cover, addressing billing errors immediately, and writing everything down – if there is a dispute, it will support your argument to know who at your insurance company you spoke with and what it is you discussed.

Have you avoided care to save money? Tell us your story in the comments!


The Dangers of Inactivity

January 14, 2011

The health dangers associated with prolonged periods of inactivity have long been known to the medical community and the general public. Parking yourself in front of the television and avoiding exercise, the common wisdom goes, can lead to weight gain and deteriorated health.

However, a new study from the University of Queensland, Australia, brings to light more details regarding the dangers of sitting. According to the study, prolonged periods of sitting — even among those who exercise regularly — lead to a bigger waistline and increased levels of blood fats.

This data comes on the heels of a University College London study  that found that the risk of heart disease doubled among those who spent more than four hours a day on the computer. Furthermore, the risk of a cardiovascular event increased 125 percent for people who spent at least two hours in front of a television or computer screen after work.

What’s shocking about these findings is that regular exercise alone isn’t enough to combat several hours’ worth of sitting — something millions of Americans do everyday at their desk jobs. Genevieve Healy, the lead author of the Queensland study, suggests that regular exercise mixed with frequent breaks during the workday to stand or walk around is the most effective way to offset the negative effects of sitting.

For many of us, spending over four hours a day in front of a computer is unavoidable. Based on these findings, what do you plan to do to offset the negative effects of sitting? Let us know in the comments!


Top 5 Ways to Cut Medical Costs

January 7, 2011

The cost of healthcare escalates by the day. But that doesn’t mean you still can’t find ways to cut corners on medical costs. Become a savvy health consumer with these five tips on cutting costs — without sacrificing quality of care — brought to you by The Healthcare Survival Guide: Cost-Saving Options for the Suddenly Unemployed.

1. Find a doctor who will forgo medical fees. Yes, they do exist. You can search for doctors in your area willing to forgo fees through the American Medical Association’s website.

2. Negotiate a discount with your doctor. Doctors are often far more willing to offer a discount or a payment plan for care than you might think – in a recent survey, 61 percent of adults who attempted to negotiate a discount were successful.

3. Instead of a specialist, use your primary doctor. Family doctors, general internists and pediatricians tend to charge less than specialists and can sometimes offer the same caliber of care. If you need maintenance care for a controlled chronic condition, this may be an option for you.

4. Need dental? Try a university dental clinic. Seeking care at a university dental clinic can cut your costs greatly – in some cases, patients pay only for the necessary materials – and the dental students and interns are closely supervised. Your state dental society can help you find a clinic near you.

5. Participate in a clinical trial. The U.S. National Institute of Health’s website lists current clinical trials being held across the nation. If you qualify, you could greatly reduce the costs of your care and medication – or eliminate them altogether.