It’s a huge burden to navigate health insurance coverage. It frequently happens that a doctor orders a service, a patient complies with the doctor’s instructions, insurance only pays a fraction or nothing at all, and the patient is left with the bill.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021’s No Surprises Act prohibits consumers from getting unexpected medical costs when they seek emergency care or particular services from out-of-network doctors at in-network institutions.


Other typical examples include the patient calling the doctor to inquire about the cost of a specific test or treatment only to be informed that the cost is unclear. Perhaps a plan participant calls their health insurance to inquire about the going rate for a service to find out how much of it will be covered, only to be told, “It depends.” In the neighborhood electronics store, nobody would walk out without knowing the price of a TV, but in the world of medicine, this is essentially what patients are supposed to do.

To be fair, health insurance providers, who have long been regarded as the industry’s gatekeepers, have taken note of this and made an effort to increase price transparency in recent years.

1 Despite these efforts, health insurance coverage has a lot of drawbacks. A better knowledgeable health care consumer should result from learning how to use these. Here are the services that the majority of insurance deny, along with information on how to obtain coverage for items that may at first be rejected.

The Roadmap for Medicare


Consumers may learn the most about the benefits that Medicare covers. Medicare is a nationally run health insurance program that is primarily available to American individuals 65 and older. In general, the Medicare system serves as the foundation for all health insurance benefit design. Several commercial health insurance plans model basic benefits after those provided to Medicare beneficiaries.

The emphasis is on health and wellness than than illness; Medicare does not fully cover annual physicals, and treatment for serious illnesses frequently necessitates a copay or coinsurance payment. Nonetheless, Medicare Part B does cover preventative evaluations including wellness visits and different screenings.23 Depending on the needs of the plan’s sponsor, such as an employer, additional benefits may be added after the basic plan design for commercial health insurance is established.

Visit the Medicare website to learn the fundamentals of what the plan covers. Since Medicare is not a “early adopter” system, the majority of new technologies are frequently either not covered at all or are only covered to a lesser extent than other, more established technologies. Drug-eluting stents versus bare-metal stents in cardiac procedures or ceramic hip replacements against conventional metal ones are two examples of this. So compared to operations that can be viewed as “test procedures,” coverage for proven procedures is much simpler to get. Typically Uncovered Services

There are several services that are often not covered by most health insurance plans, despite the fact that each benefit plan is unique, depending on the needs of the sponsor, and depending on state regulations (each state has its own insurance commissioner).

Cosmetic Procedures

Numerous cosmetic procedures, including various dermatological procedures and plastic surgery, are typically not covered by standard insurance plans. It’s interesting that consumers have high pricing transparency since they choose to have these procedures. Any number of service providers will be able to provide an instant pricing quote to a customer who wants laser hair removal.

Therapies for Infertility

Although health insurers are supposed to pay for all the testing necessary to diagnose infertility, the price of various procedures are frequently not covered by health insurance. This is one of the therapy areas where states differ, though. 4

Presently, 20 states require coverage of age for fertility procedures, but even in those states, there are exceptions that let businesses of a particular size not to cover age. The business must adhere to all applicable state insurance rules if it is covered by a fully insured plan. Plans that are self-insured are exempt from the requirements of the state and have the right to refuse coverage.

Off-Label Prescriptions

Certain conditions, such as autoimmune diseases, are tested for and approved with prescription medications. These medications may occasionally be prescribed for conditions not indicated on the “label.” The insurance provider might decline to cover certain off-label uses in specific circumstances. 5

Insurance companies are not required to cover off-label medications for particular reasons, but doctors can occasionally make a case for them by presenting peer-reviewed research to back up the prescription.

Goods or Services with Innovative Technology

If the technology does not show an additional value to offset the higher expenses, covering these expenditures frequently takes time. Medical businesses must demonstrate that a new medication, item, or test benefits consumers in a way that justifies its price by lowering death or morbidity rates (basically, save lives or reduce ill health). Other insurance plans typically follow suit and hold off on incorporating new technology into the covered benefits until additional information is available because Medicare is not an early adopter of new technology.

What Are Your Options?

There are “exceptional instances” where insurance companies do make exceptions and cover these treatments even if they are not generally covered. There are a number of different options available to consumers in various situations where services are not covered.

Get Coverage for Emerging Technology

Consumers have a number of options for persuading the insurance provider to pay in situations where a new technology outperforms an older one in terms of advantages. Many insurance companies demand that doctors “prove” the superiority of the more expensive surgery or product. Additionally, an insurance provider might only cover a portion of a procedure, and the patient could pay the difference to receive the new technology. This is known as partial coverage. The first stage in this procedure is to talk with the insurance provider about coverage, figure out what will be covered, and come to an agreement with the doctor over the overall cost and what you will be expected to pay.

Companies that make medical devices can also advocate for inclusion. They may submit an application for a new technology add-on payment through the Medicare system. If approved, Medicare will cover a percentage of the device’s price or its additional expenses. 6

Get Insurance Coverage for New Medications

Trials are often conducted on newly released goods or services in order to evaluate potential new uses or benefits. Customers can attempt to enroll in a trial and receive the goods or service as part of the trial. You are not guaranteed to receive the drug or service, even if each trial is set up differently; many include a subset of participants who receive a placebo (a phony therapy). Given that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mandates the listing of medication trials, your doctor should be able to advise you about any trials that are currently taking place. 7

Invest in a Policy of Insurance Rider

A denial by an insurance provider may be appealed by a covered person. Every insurance provider is required to inform each insured person of the appeals process. The insured consumer may also appeal to the state insurance commissioner for a review of the case if the appeals process ends in a second denial. Although the procedure can be fairly drawn out, the insured person is frequently not charged.

Mistakes in Other Insurance

To figure out coverage, some medical practices will guide patients through the insurance quagmire. To confirm that a procedure is covered, it is usually advisable for the customer to communicate with the insurance provider directly. Sadly, insurance companies may refuse to talk with an insured person and will only speak with a doctor’s office. But perseverance usually pays off.

Consumers should be aware of the many potential risks associated with insurance coverage. Among the most typical are:

• Preapproval: For some health care treatments, such as operations or hospital stays, many insurance plans need preapproval or prior permission. Before receiving care, you or your doctor must acquire authorization from the insurer; if you don’t, your insurance may not cover the service.

• In-network versus out-of-network providers: A lot of insurance plans, such health maintenance organizations (HMOs), are built with in-network physicians and healthcare providers. These in-network providers frequently have an agreement with the insurance carrier to pay a set price for certain services. It’s crucial to make sure that all aspects of a technique are covered. Verify, for instance, that the anesthesiologist is included in the network in addition to the hospital and the surgeon. Also, make sure that tests are transmitted to a preferred or in-network lab.

Costs of prescription medications: Depending on a plan’s formulary, prescription medications vary in price and coverage. The formulary, which is often located on a health insurer’s website, lists less expensive medications by their tier status (prices increase from tier 1 to tier 3—and occasionally tier 4), as well as any alternatives or generic versions. However, before an insurance company will pay for some speciality pharmaceuticals, such as injectable drugs, additional preapproval may be necessary. Under a process known as copay accumulator adjustment schemes, several insurance companies only credit a fraction of the cost of more expensive medications toward your overall deductible.

How Do Health Insurers Decide Excluded Services and Devices?

Most health insurance providers utilize Medicare as a guide to determine what will and won’t be covered. Cutting-edge technology is sometimes deemed too expensive or experimental for coverage by Medicare because of its conservative approach to the acceptance of new medications, cures, and equipment.

Which Sorts of Services Are Usually Excluded from Coverage by Health Insurance?

Certain operations are rarely covered, despite the fact that coverage might vary case by case. Plastic surgery and vein removal are two examples of cosmetic procedures that are almost generally seen as elective and so do not cover them. Only a few states cover fertility treatments, and even then, there are coverage gaps that let insurers refuse coverage.

Innovative medical equipment are frequently not covered until there has been years of evidence of their value against expenses.

Are There Any Ways to Dispute a Refusal?

Yes, you may appeal an insurers’ denial of your claim. Normally, your insurer will require you to cooperate with the office of your doctor in order to demonstrate the necessity of the procedure, medicine, or device—and even then, it could not be approved. With the state insurance commissioner, you can file an appeal in addition to your health insurance provider.

Is It Possible to Predict the Price of a Service or Treatment?

Hospital systems and providers have been slow to embrace the Transparency in Coverage Proposed Regulation, despite the fact that it was meant to make costs visible to all. Speaking with a representative of your insurance company is the only real way to find out how much you’ll have to pay. For services to be covered, some businesses also demand pre-authorization or clearance. Verify the text of your plan and obtain your written consent.


The regulations governing health insurance are difficult to comprehend and follow. Members of many organizations have access to a wealth of information on secure websites. Members can use this information to evaluate the prescription formulary, choose a doctor or facility, and learn other important details. So the best course of action is to have a real conversation with an insurance representative to understand what is a covered benefit. More “shopping” decisions should be made by members as greater proportions of health care expenditures are transferred to insurance plan members.


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