ON YOUR SIDE: To pay a copay or not to pay?

Reported by: Terri Hendry
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Updated: 6/22/2014 10:07 am
RENO, Nev. (KRNV & MyNews4.com) -  Many insurance plans require a copayment when you visit your doctor's office.  But one News 4 viewer says he was forced to pay one, even though his insurance doesn't require it.  He says this happened recently when he visited Saint Mary's Cardiology.  He claims the office staff told him it was a new Saint Mary's policy to obtain a $25 copayment from every patient, even if the copayment was zero dollars.
After paying it and checking in, he complained once his vitals were being taken and they refunded his money before he left.   The viewer said, "I paid by credit card.  They did credit back the charge to my account."

We contacted Saint Mary's and a representative provided a written statement: "Saint Mary's collects co-payments at the time of service, depending on a patient's insurance policy."  It goes on to say: "Saint Mary's does not collect copayments that are not required and works diligently with insurance companies to acquire reimbursements for our patients."

Our viewer believes he received a refund because he complained and demanded one.  He said, "I recommend that people keep an eye on what they're charged. You don't want to be paying for something that you didn't have performed or is double billed." 

While Saint Mary's insists it doesn't charge copayments unless required, our viewer worries these types of misunderstandings may become more common due to all the changes in health care as a result of the Affordable Care Act.  He said, "I'm concerned about double billing.  I think it's happened so much in the insurance industry that its just accepted."  He also said, "It's confusing and it's going to get worse.  No matter what you think of Obamacare, there are a lot of changes coming and they're not necessarily good."
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