By Shauna Vistad
We have already told you about some of the fraud, abuse and waste in the health care system that is inflating health care costs and told you what Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota is doing to fight fraud and abuse.
Here are some things you can do as a consumer to help manage your health care costs:
Take an active and educated role in your health care.
- Review your Explanation of Benefits forms as soon as you receive them. Did you see the listed provider on that date of service? Did you receive the services or products listed on the form? If not:
- Contact your provider to ask, and/or report your concerns to the BCBSND SIU or through our hotline 1-877-537-2830. A majority of the time a simple error is found, but BCBSND can help ensure it is corrected.
- All the normal advice: eat better, exercise more, etc.
- Don’t forget your preventive treatments, such as vaccinations, annual exams, pap tests and other early diagnosis testing as appropriate for your family history, medical history, age, etc.
- When visiting your provider: Communicate all of your concerns and ask questions. This can help prevent multiple visits.
- Write your questions and concerns down ahead of time if needed so you don’t forget.
- If you need treatment, ask about alternative treatments and cost to consider all of your options.
- New/expensive does not always mean it is the best for you.
- While only you and your health care provider can determine your health care needs, consider whether a visit to a provider is necessary for your current concern.
- If care is necessary does it require a trip to the emergency room or is a visit to your regular provider an option?
As discussed in the cost of health insurance, Americans are also using more health care services than in the past, going to the Emergency Room, urgent care centers or doctor’s office to treat things such as common colds that years ago they wouldn’t have sought medical attention to treat.
Health care fraud, waste and abuse affect costs for everyone. With your help, BCBSND will continue to look for ways to address and control these growing costs.
(This is the final installment of a three-part series of blogs about fraud, waste and abuse in the health care system. The first post looked at the impact fraud, waste and abuse is having on the health care system. The second post looked at what BCBSND is doing to help control costs and prevent fraud and waste).
Shauna Vistad, Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) and Certified Forensic Interviewer (CFI), is manager of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota.