Managing Costs with High Deductible Insurance New Plans, New Rules, New Approaches

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Denver area medical providers offer health care consumers advice on saving money in wake of high deductible insurance plans.

As health care consumers and employers look to health savings accounts and high deductible plans to reduce their health insurance premiums, the insured are at higher risk for their medical expenses. In exchange for lower premiums, health care consumers spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on deductibles before their insurance companies pay a nickel. The new trend has health care consumers scrambling.

Denver medical providers offer advice:
1.)    Choose the appropriate place of service for healthcare needs, and avoid the emergency room if at all possible. Even with insurance company discounts, an ER visit will cost you more than $500.00.
2.)    Call your primary care physician for an appointment before seeking treatment elsewhere. Treatment in your physician's office is almost always the least expensive alternative for accessing healthcare for minor injuries and illnesses.
3.)    Consider an urgent care center or clinic for non-life and limb threatening injuries and illnesses, when your physician office is closed or unable to accommodate an appointment. Your average visit will likely cost about $150.
4.)    Ask for self-pay or payment in full discounts at the time of service.

Denver's AfterOurs Urgent Care Centers offer patients who pay for their visits at the time of service substantial discounts. "Two out of ten insurance claims are denied for some reason, leaving patients in the middle. Collecting payment at the time of service reduces our administrative costs, so we are able to offer considerable discounts to our patients. Most (patients) have high deductible plans anyway. Payment information is forwarded to the patient's insurance company, so their payment amount is recognized by the insurance company and applied to their deductible. The difference is whether we collect the patient's portion up front or later", said Chris Rehm, Executive Director of AfterOurs Urgent Care.

So what happens when a patient pays more at the time of service than their insurance company allows for? Under current insurance laws, medical providers who collect more from the patient at the time of service than the insurance company is contracted to pay, must refund any overpayment directly to the patient. "Overpayments rarely happen on the front end, because we have good knowledge of our insurance contracts and new technology allows us access to patient deductible balances," stated David White, Co-Owner of Denver based Pinnacle Medical Billing. "Some payors contractually restrict the practice of collecting deductibles up front, and we can't require anyone to take advantage of the opportunity, but most insurance companies are happy that they and there patients save time and money by paying at the time of service."

About AfterOurs
AfterOurs Inc., a locally owned and operated urgent care company, is dedicated to providing high-quality, low-cost healthcare services when physician offices are closed. Formed in 2005, AfterOurs operates clinics - Denver, Highlands Ranch, and Thornton.


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Jennifer Rehm

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