This teacher wound up with a $108,951 medical bill. When to battle your insurer

It’s no longer enough to ask your doctor’s receptionist, “Will you take my insurance?”

“When you’re making an appointment, don’t ask if you’re covered under your plan,” said McClanahan, who is director of financial planning at Life Planning Partners in Jacksonville, Florida. “Everyone will take your insurance.”

Your doctor’s office may accept your insurance, but that won’t spare you from a surprise bill weeks later if he or she is out of your network, McClanahan said.

The correct question for your doctor’s receptionist is, “Are you in my network?”

Be sure to document who gave you the answer and the date so that you’re prepared to fight back if you get a bill that says otherwise, McClanahan said.

Speak up when your doctor recommends tests and prescriptions. Ask questions such as: “Is the testing facility in-network?” or “Are the doctors evaluating the tests in-network?”

Recent data from the Kaiser Family Foundation showed that nearly 1 in 5 inpatient hospital admissions include a claim from an out-of-network provider. The foundation studied medical bills from large employer plans.

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