Published September 2015
Now that sounds obvious, but if you think of it, there are many things that we just take at face value without checking up on them.
One of the things we often do not do is actually look at the payments made by our health insurance carriers. In fact, as mentioned by author Steven Brill in his brilliant (IMHO) piece about healthcare in Time magazine in March 2014, most Americans never think about what their healthcare costs are. We only focus on what our out-of-pocket costs are. Even though, we study like crazy all the other things we spend our money on, we usually don’t care about costs when it comes to our health. “Our insurance pays it.”
Recently, I looked at one of the claims paid by our carrier. It looked familiar. And I saw it on the prior month. And the month before that. It was for a wheelchair that Linda needed after her surgery in March. But it was returned at the end of April. And the provider was continuing to bill the insurance carrier for it.
I contacted the insurance company who contacted the provider who said something to the effect that it was an oversight and they would refund the amounts paid. It probably would be deducted automatically by the insurance company in their next payment to the provider.
Having met our maximum out of pocket amounts (which isn’t a great thing when you consider that the only way you do that is by needing that much in healthcare items), it was not directly affecting our cash flow. So why should we care about it?
It might affect the cost of our insurance and therefore the cost of our premiums. And we might not realize it but yet we’d complain about the increase.
I had a client who neglected to inform me of his Health Savings Account contribution. He also neglected to “read” his tax return and it was filed. Afterwards, he noticed that the HSA deduction was missing and an amended return had to be filed.
We are all very busy. There is so much data to review and computers have made it very easy to overlook things. But we must be vigilant when it comes to our own financial well-being and those that may affect it. Check your insurance claims, read your tax returns, etc.
And if you have trouble understanding what is on (or not on) your tax return, ask your CPA. S/he will be more than happy to explain it to you.