5 ways to reduce costs of your international claims
Managing costs of international claims is multi-faceted problem. We asked Dr. Jan Schaefer, a recognized expert for medical cost containment internationally, for his top tips when implementing money-saving processes into an international claims management program. Here is what he had to say:
1. Expand your international network
It is often the case that you can get a lower price for the same treatment at an out-of-network provider. If you have the ability to quickly ask a range of providers in multiple countries for treatment cost estimates, you are able to begin the cost containment process prior to patient admission. Hospitals today are not just competing regionally, but internationally for patients.
2. Incentivize members to contact you before admission
A broader network is just the first part of a healthy cost containment system. Patients choose providers based on a number of different factors, including hospital and physician reputation, reported outcomes, facility quality, and perceived level of service. Member education about which hospitals receive full claims reimbursement can also influence the selection of a provider.
3. Obtain multiple treatment plans and cost estimates
It’s no secret that negotiation on treatment prices prior to admission is a common practice among hospitals and their preferred partners. When obtaining a treatment plan and initialcost estimate, you can go back to the providers to negotiate even better pricing. Another infrequently practiced but effective tactic is requesting quotes from multiple providers.
4. Monitor the case for extensions and extra treatments
No matter where your member has been admitted, its a best practice to check in with the provider at least once during the course of treatment (and on a bi-weekly basis for longer treatments). Constant vigilance pays off — you are able to prevent unnecessary extensions and extra treatments. An open channel of communication allows the provider to discuss any deviations from the initial treatment plan.
5. Validate the invoice after discharge
When managing claims members treated by international providers, you should usually consult a local billing expert. Each country’s billing system varies. Your consultant should ensure not only that the billing is accurate, but also check for proper procedure coding and unintentional mistakes such as double billing.