If you’re lucky enough to be covered by a medical insurance company that pays for all medical treatment expenses except for the amount that you are required to fork over as co-pay at the time of your treatment, you’ve probably never actually taken the time to look at the itemized statements that you received. But, if you have to pay a percentage of the medical bill, or worse, are responsible for the entire amount, any error in the billing may end up costing you a lot of money.
Billing errors are quite common. Not only can a patient be charged for tests that they haven’t had, tiny things like drugs given in the hospital when you have not been given them can quickly add up, making your portion of the bill quickly escalate.
Incorrect billing codes on the insurance forms can also leave you with higher balances than you should have to pay.
Find out the Medical Healthcare Charges before you are treated.
If you will be admitted into a hospital call the billing department and find out what they charge for room and board. Ask what fees and treatments are not included in the room charge. Many times tissues or gowns are an added charge, and you can bring these items from home to keep the costs down. But if you do, you have to go over your itemized statement to make sure that you haven’t been automatically been charged for them.
The same holds true for prescription drugs. Some doctors will give permission for their patients to bring their medication from home to take while they are patients. This can save a lot of money because there is a huge up charge on drugs dispensed from the hospital pharmacy. But many times, the drugs that are listed on the doctors orders are the drugs the patient is charged for, whether they are using their own or not. Double check your bills to make sure you are not charged for your own drugs.
Keep track of all of the treatments and tests that you receive. When the bill comes in, check it against your own list. If you are too ill to keep track of your treatment, ask a friend or relative to keep the list for you. Make sure that you give permission for your helper to get the information. Privacy concerns often prevent care givers from speaking about the medical care with anyone but the patient. Speak with the person at the nurse’s station and make sure the permission is noted on your chart.
If you find a discrepancy on your bill, call the provider directly and ask for an explanation. You are allowed to ask for an itemized statement when charges are grouped together so that you can compare the charges to what treatments you actually received.
While the amounts charged for drugs and tissues you didn’t receive can add up quickly, there are other places that errors occur that can save you thousands of dollars. For example, use of the operating room is by the minute. Depending on the hospital, the charge could be up to $300 a minute. Find out how long the procedure took and make sure that you weren’t overcharged.
Check with your insurance company for an even bigger incentive to search for errors in your medical bills. Some medical healthcare insurers give rewards to patients who find and report the billing errors.
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