Edna’s Family: Overwhelmed By The Costs of Alzheimer’s Care
Edna’s children noticed that her Alzheimer’s disease was starting to progress rapidly. They grew increasingly concerned that it was no longer be safe to leave her alone, even for a few few minutes. She was growing more and more forgetful. One day, her daughter came in and found that Edna had left a stove burner on in the kitchen. Edna wasn’t hurt, but her children knew they needed to get a full-time caregiver.
Edna lived on a fixed income. Her insurance only covered minimal care from visiting home health aides. Many of the aides who came to spend time with her didn’t seem adequately trained to work with an Alzheimer’s patient. Though each of her children spent as much time with her as their work schedules allowed, they didn’t feel like their mother was getting the care she truly required. They wanted the best for Edna but didn’t know how they could afford to get her the round-the-clock, specialized care she needed.
Many seniors and their families find themselves facing the same sort of problem. Due to distance and work obligations, children of aging patients can feel weighed down by stress due to increased patient needs and minimal financial resources. They want the best health care for their parents, but can’t afford to rack up substantial medical costs.
Steve: Surprised By Surgery Bills
Steve was shocked when he started receiving medical bills after a recent surgery. Then he was confused: hadn’t he already paid for his medical insurance coverage? He was under the impression that since he had already met his deductible for the year, his medical bills from the surgery would be entirely covered. As the bills kept piling up, he started to feel overwhelmed. He wasn’t sure how he was going to be able to afford to pay them all. He started thinking about declaring bankruptcy in order to get out from under his mounting medical debt.
These types of scenarios are perfect examples of the need for patient advocate services. With a health advocacy specialist, patients and their families can learn how to navigate the confusing world of health care costs. Professional help can enable them to find viable options for getting loved ones the care they deserve and making medical costs more affordable.
Patient Advocates Can Assist With Lowering Medical Bills
Whether you feel like you or a loved one have already paid too much for medical services or you’re concerned about future potential medical costs, a health advocate can provide solid answers to many of the questions you may have about how to afford quality health care or how to pay for past medical bills. Here are a few of the helpful services patient advocates provide:
Reviewing Medical Bills to Catch Mistakes
Many people aren’t aware that mistakes in medical billing are fairly common. One of the common patient advocacy responsibilities is to look through medical bills to find costly errors. Mistakes can include accidental duplicate charges and charges for services that were never performed on the patient due to cancellation by the patient or their physician. A skilled patient advocate will go through your past medical bills line by line to see if there were any of these types of errors made, then contact the hospital or care center to make sure you won’t be overcharged for services rendered.
Disputing Suspiciously High Medical Bills
Sometimes, rather than finding a typographical error on a medical bill, a health advocate will notice that a certain charge seems exorbitantly high for a specific service. For example, some hospitals have been known to overcharge patients for simple over-the-counter medications such as aspirin or acetaminophen. The advocate can then dispute this possible overcharge with the healthcare facility’s billing department. She will seek to negotiate with your bills with both insurance companies and healthcare providers. She can work through the hassle and red tape involved to make sure you’re being billed fairly.
Helping Patients and Families find Affordable Care Options
Another patient advocate specialty is helping families find viable care options that won’t drive anyone to bankruptcy. The process begins by reviewing the family member’s financial situation as well as the different avenues for financial aid that may be available from insurance companies, through the state, or from various healthcare nonprofits. Trained patient advocates know the right questions to ask, as well as the right places to contact.
Patient advocates may ask your current or potential future physicians and caregivers for specific information about your care choices and billing. This is helpful information when it comes to getting premium care at affordable rates.
If you or someone you love could use the compassionate, trustworthy care of a patient advocate to find affordable healthcare options or to lower medical bills, Values Based Patient Advocates can help. We are a team of skilled health advocacy experts who love helping patients save money and discover premium healthcare service alternatives. To find out more information about the many services we have to offer or to schedule a consultation with a member of our team, contact us today.