As health care costs in the Philippines continue to rise, many people complain about surprise medical billing. These things make it more difficult for everyone who needs medical attention. Today, many people are in debt and struggling due to unexpected medical bills.
In today’s blog post, we aim to provide more insights on how to avoid an unexpected hospital bill. Hopefully, this will help you properly manage your emergency fund and your medical finances.
What are the Possible Reasons for Receiving a Surprise Medical Bill?
There are countless reasons why patients or family members receive surprising medical bills. Despite the unending efforts of the Philippine Government to prevent this, our local healthcare agencies still receive multiple reports of surprise billing.
Lack of research and communication are some of the main reasons why people receive surprise medical costs. Another common case is when your health care provider refers you to an out-of-network provider. This usually happens when you did not sign a written consent that you are aware of the medical services or treatments they provided.
Medical Bill Transparency Act in the Philippines
In 2021, Senate Bill No. 2334 was passed. This proposed Medical Bill Transparency Act aims to improve transparency between health care providers or hospitals and their patients. The said bill requires hospitals and health care providers to inform patients in advance about their services and estimated out-of-pocket costs.
With this bill, patients and their family members can set their expectations and choose the best healthcare that suits their needs and budget. It prevents unexpected health care bills and out-of-pocket expenses.
In addition to health care cost transparency, Senate Bill No. 2334 also mandates health insurance providers and self-insured health plans to provide detailed information on expected or estimated out-of-pocket costs.
What to Do to Avoid Unexpected Medical Billing?
There are many ways you can do to avoid these surprise medical bills. Whether it is an emergency medical situation or a scheduled appointment, you need to familiarize yourself with our healthcare system to prevent discrepancies and other problems.
Here’s what you can do to avoid a surprise medical bill:
#1: Do your research.
Be familiar with your coverage and billing policies before your visit. One of the best things about the digital era is that you can easily access information.
Browsing your preferred hospitals, clinics or health care providers’ websites will give you tons of information about their services and billing options. You can even ask for an initial breakdown of their rates to help you make more informed decisions.
#2: Request for in-network lab work services.
This is where a lot of people get unexpected medical bills. When your health care provider requires some screening tests or lab work services, be sure to ask them to choose in-network providers. Doing lab work from out-of-network facilities like blood tests, X-rays and other tests can put a hole in your pockets.
#3: Shop around for the best rates.
The Internet has made it so much easier for people to find products and services they need. It’s not that difficult to shop around for the best medical services and treatments online. You can even find promos and other discount offerings on social media and other online platforms. Just make sure to check the credibility of your prospects.
#4: Beware of facility fees.
When you go to a larger hospital or clinic, they may charge you some facility fees. If your situation is not an emergency, do not hesitate to ask them if they have facility fees. If so, you can try looking for other locations without facility fees to avoid extra charges.
#5: Know your rights around a surprise hospital bill.
As discussed earlier, the Medical Transparency Act mandates hospitals and health care providers to inform patients about their rates and estimated out-of-pocket expenses. If they fail to comply, you can coordinate with the Department of Health and other local health institutions.
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