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30,000 (OK, 3) REASONS YOU NEED A HEALTH ADVOCATE

Jan, 21 2015

Have your out-of-pocket costs increased under your current healthcare plan? The stats scream, "YES!" According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, premiums have increased 69% since 2004. If you get insurance through your employer, your contribution has skyrocketed by 81%. 

Add to that, the price of the actual healthcare has gone up exponentially!

Add to that, when you do need to access “the system,” it’s a mire of confusion.

Add to that, when you or a loved one is sick and trying to heal (or sadly, the opposite), dealing with the above is the last thing you need. 

OK, now I’m totally depressed. 

Bottom line: we’re in a new era of healthcare and you need a Health Advocate.

Do you know what a Health Advocate is? 

This is a trained professional who helps you navigate the healthcare and insurance system. I always recommend that someone use a heath insurance broker to find the right insurance plan. But once you have insurance (or not), the Health Advocate steps in to help with how to get the best bang for your buck. It’s similar to other advisors you have in your life: a financial planner who helps with investments or a travel agent who plans your vacations. 

A Health Advocate is there to help find lower cost options, find quality providers, review medical bills for accuracy, negotiate medical bills on your behalf, help with insurance coverage questions, schedule major procedures, etc. 

Here are 3 reasons every American should have one (be sure to read below to learn about the other 30,000 reasons!)...

1) You don't have the KNOWLEDGE 

It’s estimated that 40+% of medical bills contain errors. In 2010, Kaiser Health News estimated that nearly $68 billion is lost to fraud and billing mistakes each year. Do you know why? Because normal Americans don’t have the time or knowledge to dissect and scrutinize a darn medical bill – furthermore, with all the crazy codes, we wouldn’t even understand it! Then what? Am I going to sit on the phone for 20 hours to negotiate with my insurance company and every provider? No, because...

Medical Bill Saver

2) You don't have the TIME 

Did you know that medical prices can vary 300%+ between healthcare providers for the same procedure, in the same network, and within the same zip code? It’s true! 

Here’s my story: Last year, I needed an MRI and 2 sonograms. My doctor told me to go to an imaging center near his office. Instead, I called my Advocate and asked them to do some legwork to find a better value imaging center near my home that accepted my insurance (or, was in my insurance company’s network). 

Who has the time to call around to a bunch of providers to get pricing? I tried it ONE TIME and couldn’t get a straight answer from anyone. It was SO frustrating. Basically, they told me I’d need to come in – they don’t give pricing over the phone. What? 

The result: the provider my doctor referred me to was $800. My advocate found 2 other options. One was about $950 and one was $600. Guess where I went? That’s right! The $600 provider. 

Most people just go to the provider their doctor suggests. Do you know why? Because no one has time to do all the research. Even if we have the time, because it’s so complicated, we don’t have the chops to get the real price from each provider. 

I saved hours of my time, but I also saved hundreds that year because I had to go back for intermittent check-ups. Speaking of…

3) You don't have the MONEY

I know a thing or two about health advocacy because I own freshbenies (we help people save on their healthcare costs) - it’s one of the services we offer. I recently was alerted to this post on a member’s Facebook page… 

Facebook post about how a health advocate helped

After I commented on the post, she followed with this: “You guys helped us NOT pay $30,000+ when our insurance company tried to deny our delivery of our high risk and NICU heart baby in 2013... seriously amazing!” 

You can see from the post how much work the advocate was doing for her and the money-saving result is truly “seriously amazing.” Of course, I suggested she buy the baby a car with the money she saved! 

Now, it’s your turn to tell your story! Have you used a health advocacy service before? What was your experience? Do you have questions? Feel free to post them in the comments below or email me at heidi@freshbenies.com.

Heidi

Heidi has a passion for helping busy families control their healthcare dime, time and peace of mind! She writes articles to do just that, while keeping it fun and simple for her readers! She also speaks on healthcare issues and is the owner of www.freshbenies.com.

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Tanya Boyd
Tanya Boyd
President of Tanya Boyd & Associates

I didn’t want to go to urgent care or the ER. Using Doctors Online in my freshbenies membership, I went online to ask a doctor. The doctor responded and said to check my blood pressure. He followed up with the next day to make sure my numbers were OK. By then, the feeling was starting to go away. He told me if it persists to contact my doctor. It was great that I didn’t have to go somewhere and wait forever, and it was free.” - Kelli from Texas

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Fred from TX
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It was flu season and our son came down with symptoms we figured were probably the flu.

It was about 5 PM and our family doctor wouldn’t be able to get him in for a day or 2.

I called Telehealth and within an hour and a half, he’d had the first dose of medicine and was already feeling better.