Examining your medical bills to avoid paying too much is easier than you think.
5 Things That Can Cause You to Overpay on Medical Bills – and How to Avoid Them
When you receive a medical bill in the mail, do you put a check in the mail or hop online to pay it right away? If so, your attention to paying bills on time is commendable, but you may want to take a closer look at those medical bills before trusting that the amount due is correct.
That’s because around 80% of all medical bills contain at least one error, according to personal finance site NerdWallet. So, how can you know if a hospital, doctor’s office or other health care provider is billing you correctly?
Click or swipe to learn 5 things that can cause you to overpay on medical bills.
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1. Failing to verify all personal information
Before you start investigating the charges on your medical bill, make sure your name, address and health insurance information are correct at the top of the bill. If one of these items is inaccurate, your insurance claim could be denied.
Also, checking this ensures that your medical information hasn’t been accidentally switched with another patient, resulting in charges for someone else’s appointments or procedures.
2. Not comparing the bill with the Explanation of Benefits
You should receive an “Explanation of Benefits” (EOB) from your health insurance provider for any claims submitted by a health care provider or hospital. If you have Medicare, you will receive a similar document known as a Medicare Summary Notice (MSN).
Don’t toss, shred or lose these important documents, since you’ll need them when you receive a medical bill for the procedure in question. The EOB is not a bill you must pay, even though it shows an amount labeled “patient responsibility” which is the amount you will owe after your insurance pays the claim.
Always compare the total patient responsibility amount to the amounts due on the hospital or doctor bill you receive to make sure you’re being billed correctly.
3. Trusting that medical billing codes are correct
Your EOB, MSN and all bills from health care providers and hospitals should contain 5-character CPT or other billing codes describing medical procedures, diagnoses or treatments. If the billing office issues the wrong code, you’ll be billed incorrectly.
There are thousands of medical billing codes for diagnoses, treatments and procedures, and codes can change frequently, so there’s no way you could memorize them all to make sure the billing code is accurate. However, it’s easy to look up medical billing codes online.
If you think you’re being billed incorrectly due to a coding mistake, call the doctor’s or hospital billing office to double-check the code and amount billed.
4. Overlooking duplicate charges
When reading a lengthy medical bill, always make sure you’re not being billed for the same procedure twice. For example, if the lab drew your blood one day, and your bill lists that also shows the same description and code for blood work you didn’t receive on another, separate day, ask the billing department to remove the duplicate charge.
5. Paying for procedures or medications not received
If your doctor orders a shot, medication or treatment and then changes that order later, the nurse may inadvertently forget to remove the notation from your chart, resulting in your being billed for a treatment, medication or procedure you never received.
If you see a charge for a procedure or treatment you never received on your bill, it’s probably an honest mistake that can be fixed easily by calling the billing department to straighten it out.
Published by Debt.com, LLC