Medical Red Flags Patients Should Be Aware Of

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“If a doctor orders an imaging test unless it’s urgent — meaning you need it done that same day — always make sure they got the approval from your insurance before you actually have it done. If you want to be extra sure, ask them for an authorization number and CPT (Current Procedural Terminology) or procedure code and double-check it with your insurance carrier, the radiology department, or the imaging facility where you’re having the test done.”

“I’ve heard horror stories of patients going in for CT scans or MRIs thinking the ordering physician’s office obtained authorization from their insurance when in reality, the authorization request was pending at the time and later ended up being denied. The patient was left with a bill for thousands of dollars. And remember: it’s the ordering physician’s office’s responsibility to obtain the authorization, NOT the patient’s or the servicing provider.”

—Mel, 30s, medical assistant

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