Paying insurance bills can mean paying the medical bills that insurance doesn't cover or it can mean paying a monthly premium to have health insurance coverage.
Paying health care bills & getting help
First, let's look at how to know what you owe for your health care services.
After you've seen a doctor or provider, you file a claim with your health insurance company (often the provider will file this for you). Filing a claim, means you're asking your insurance company to process or handle the bill. As part of this process, your health insurance company sends you an explanation of benefits also called an EOB.
An EOB isn't a bill. It’s a summary of your health insurance coverage, claims and benefits.
Why is an EOB important?
Your EOB can help you track your health care spending and medical claims history.
Here's what you need to know:
- Compare your health care and dental bills with your EOB to make sure the services and charges listed are correct.
- If a charge doesn't look right call your doctor or insurance customer service to ask why.
- "Allowed Amount" is the total an in-network doctor or provider is allowed to bill you. It's a discounted rate your insurance has negotiated or agreed on with doctors and hospitals in their network. You save money when you choose in-network care.
- The part of the bill you must pay might be called something like, “Amount Your Provider May Bill You,” or "What you may owe." It includes any copays.
- Keep all your EOBs and health care bills for future reference or until your plan year ends (you may need these for your tax records).
How to Read an EOB
Getting financial help:
- Talk to your health care provider about making monthly payments, many allow this without charging interest or fees.
- Some dentists, doctors and other health care providers will negotiate or lower the price for cash payment, paying in full before a procedure and paying quickly. Be sure to ask if this kind of help is available.
- Credit, loans and other types of financial assistance may be available. If you need help, ask your provider. It may help you avoid financial difficulty later.
Next, let's look at some common financial tools that may help you save up for and pay future health costs.
Financial Tools Simplified – Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA)
A Flexible Spending Account can help you pay for:
- qualified medical, dental and vision expenses and supplies
- health insurance premiums for premium-only accounts
- dependent care expenses
How It Works: You set up the FSA and decide how much to put in. The money comes out of your paycheck before you pay taxes. You lower your taxable income and pay for health care with tax-free dollars.
- Except for dependent care, you can use the whole thing on the first day of the plan year.
- If you don't use all the money by the end of the year, you lose what's left. It does not "roll over" to the following year, so it's important to carefully estimate the amount you'll need.
- Use your FSA for things like eye glasses, sunglasses with readers, contact lenses and solution, sunscreen, certain medical equipment, qualifying prescriptions and copays.
- See IRS Publication 502 for a general list of what you can and cannot buy with your FSA. You can also search for more than 4000 items online at the FSA Store or the website of your favorite drug store.
Financial Tools Simplified – Health Savings Accounts (HSA)
Set up a Health Savings Account if you have a high-deductible health plan. Use it to pay for:
- qualified out-of-pocket medical expenses
- medical expenses you have before you've met your deductible
How It Works: You set up the HSA and decide how much to put in. The money comes out of your paycheck before you pay taxes. You own your HSA and keep it even if you change plans.
- Your unused HSA money rolls over from year to year, you don't lose what you don't use
- If you don't use it all during the plan year, you earn interest on the balance and can build up savings over time
- Save up these tax-free dollars to pay for future medical expenses
Financial Tools Simplified – Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRA)
Use a Health Reimbursement Account with any type of health insurance plan to help you pay for services not covered by your plan, including:
How It Works: Your employer sets up an HRA for you and puts money into the account for you to cover your health care expenses.
- If you don't use all the funds during the plan year, it rolls over to the next year.
- You can have both an HRA and an FSA.
Compare the most common financial tools
Use It For
How It Works
Financial tools are based on IRS guidelines. Learn more at: irs.gov or talk to your employer.
How do I pay my health insurance premiums?
A Premium is your monthly insurance payment.
It's the amount you pay to have health insurance coverage in case you get sick or injured.
Most insurance companies try to make paying the bill easier by offering several payment methods. At Blue Cross NC, you can pay:
Log in to or register for Blue Connect, then look for Billing & Payments to use a credit card or send an electronic transfer from your bank. (You can make a one-time payment or set up autopay for recurring monthly payments by email. Free for members.)
Send a check to the address on your monthly bill
1-800-333-7009 to make a one-time payment by credit card or bank draft
Visit us at 1965 Ivy Creek Blvd, Durham, NC 27707, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday - Friday, except holidays
No matter how you pay, all premium payments should be posted by 6 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on the day they're due.
This is important! All health plans are not the same! Your plan may be very different from what we're showing here. Before you buy a plan, be sure to read all the details about your cost sharing responsibilities and talk to an insurance professional to learn more.