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Five things to do before paying your medical bills

According to experts, up to 80 percent of medical bills can contain errors, writes Real Simple.

Photo: Shutterstock

Follow these steps to check costs, reduce costs, and avoid unpleasant surprises.

1. Check information

First, make sure that the bill is actually paid for your insurance and that the insurance information is correct, says Andria Gross, a medical bills attorney and founder of MedWise Insurance Advocacy. Sometimes a billing company sends an invoice by mail without sending it through insurance.

2. Request a detailed list

Service providers should provide you with a breakdown by item showing how they arrived at the total. If your account does not have this, ask for clarification. Then, make sure all of the items on the bill match what you got during your visit or hospital stay, ”says Teresa Brown, senior director of the hospital department at Medliminal, a company that specializes in reducing medical bills. “Check units and quantities,” she says. “I spoke to a woman whose husband had a CT scan and they billed her twice. We saw a toothbrush that was billed for $ 1000. So look for extra zeros and other numbers. "

3. Examine Account Codes

Each medical procedure has a corresponding payment code. This code is entered by your doctor to inform insurers about the procedures that were made and to help them process the application, says Caitlin Donovan, director of public relations and public relations at the National Foundation for Patient Interest.

If you are denied payment for a particular procedure, find out if the correct code was used: enter the code from your invoice or insurance indemnity in the code search tool, such as ... If you notice a potential mistake, ask your doctor about it. They can re-apply with the corrected code. “I also recommend asking your insurer how the payment procedure should be coded,” Donovan says.

4. Do not be afraid to negotiate

Even if you checked your account for accuracy and filed an appeal, you can still save more than you think. To do this, go to Web site or, to understand what a reasonable fee is for the service. This will give you the opportunity to begin negotiations, says Donovan. People want to be paid, so they will see that you are trying to pay the bill, and the service providers will start working according to your financial constraints. They may even offer a lower one-time amount.

5. Do not postpone

Do not postpone the solution to this problem for later. Call the billing office (or your insurance company if it processes the payment for you) as quickly as possible if you think you have found a mistake. If you do not contact the billing service or do not pay the bill, the service provider may send your details to the collection agency. The agency can then notify the credit bureaus of your debt. Medical loan debt that is less than six months overdue does not appear in your credit report, so it is advisable to resolve issues before it appears there.

How to warn yourself against problems:

1. Know your insurance and providers for which it covers

One of the most common ways to increase medical expenses is to contact a provider whose services your insurance does not cover. Before any visit to the doctor or procedure, check whether the provider or the laboratory is in the network of medical institutions of your insurance. In case of emergency, find out which hospital in your area is online (but note that some doctors who work there may still not be in your insurance plan). Call your service provider for clarity.

2. Talk pricing

Ask your doctor about cost-effective alternatives, Donovan suggests. If doctors know that the budget is your priority, they can choose a more affordable treatment or a generic drug.

3. Become your own protector

Keep a record of the conversation during your meetings (and during the meetings of those you care about). Ask if you can record your visit.

By the way, in 60% of cases, Americans are the reason for bankruptcy today. indicate unbearable bills from medical facilities. This is more often than bankruptcy due to loans for housing or study. It always makes sense to fight before you put money on the "surprise account" and splurge on its payment.

Read also on ForumDaily:

Medicine in the USA: expensive and even more expensive

What I learned about medicine in the United States when I got insurance

Medical insurance in the USA: how to start a choice

How to be treated in the US and get paid for it

Personal experience: cons of the Medicaid program

Other hospital medical insurance Educational program account
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