6 Tips for Handling Phone Calls with Insurance Providers and Medical Offices

Phone calls with insurance providers
October 7, 2019
Peer Visitor Team

Working with insurance to get the best possible coverage often takes many phone calls. Here are six tips to help you gracefully navigate the process with ease.

  1. Document Your Phone Call
    • Always ask for the names of the operators with whom you are speaking, and write them down.
    • Record dates and times of each conversation at the start of the phone call.
    • Jot down notes on the information you were given, especially particular “rules” or “policies” you are told about. 
  2. Ask Clarifying Questions
    • Make sure to ask questions to clarify concepts you don’t understand. 
    • Mirror or reframe someone’s statement by saying it back to them. For example, if the person on the other end of the line tells you, “We don’t have a record of that document on file.” You might say, “So you’re saying the document I sent to your office on X date has not been received?” 
  3. Speak to the Supervisor
    • You may ask to speak to supervisors at any time. It is wise to do so when you get the sense that the operator you are speaking with does not genuinely understand your question.
    • Keep in mind that most calls are likely being recorded, which can work in your favor if the insurance company or agency makes a mistake. In the event you are given two conflicting pieces of information, you can speak to supervisors and also remind them that your previous call was recorded and ask them to check their records. Inform the supervisor what you were previously told and ask questions until you understand the process and are given the same answer to your question more than once.
  4. Have a Positive Attitude
    • The fact that calls are being recorded is also a reason for you to keep a level head and attitude. It is okay to express frustration and sadness, but it is not okay to make mean or denigrating comments to the operators, and it may only hurt your case in the long run to do so. 
  5. Work with a Case Manager
    • Try to work with a Case Manager if you can. Some insurance companies will assign you a Case Manager, but you can always ask if one isn’t automatically assigned to you. 
    • Get to know him or her. Form a relationship with this person, because they can be your internal advocate. Once you’ve spoken to them a few times and told them your story, you become a real person to them rather than a one-time phone call or nameless patient. They are great resources since they can help find the information you need and ensure the best services are provided to you.
  6. Be Patient 
    • Expect to be put on hold for long periods of time and transferred frequently. This process can be very frustrating, but it’s important to be persistent and manage these frustrations in order to achieve the results you want and deserve. 
    • You also might try to make your phone calls at times when you can do other things while you’re on hold. 
    • Try to plan extra time for holding, so you don’t have to hang up before speaking with someone after holding for quite some time.
    • Quick Tip: Typing 0#0# often takes you directly to an operator rather than having to listen to lengthy messages about menu options.

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