Most insurers will pay hospitals, doctors and other health care providers directly if you notify them promptly. If the amounts are small, you will be expected to pay the provider directly and file for reimbursement with the insurer. But don’t expect them to pay the bills blindly if you haven’t even notified them. And if some of these hospitals or doctors bill you later for extra fees, advise your insurer and let them handle it. Don’t be in a hurry to send your cheque. American hospitals are used to waiting and they usually settle for far less than they have billed. They also make a lot of mistakes.
There are many horror stories in the media about American hospitals demanding payment or credit card guarantees before treating your emergencies, and most are untrue. Such intimidation may be applied in some other countries, but wherever you are, notify your assistance company if you think you need hospi9tal services and let them refer you, if there is time. If not, go to the nearest hospital and have a companion, or the hospital itself, call your assistance service immediately. Some policies require you to call within a certain time, eg 24 hours. American hospitals, by law, must treat anyone who comes to their emergency room with a legitimate emergency whether they are insured or not. Notify your emergency assistance, and they will deal with payment issues. You won’t be held hostage and required to sign over the deed to your house.