Managing Your Medical Bills

Even the simplest healthcare matters can get complicated when bills and explanation of benefits (EOB) arrive. However, if you take the following steps after a visit with a provider, you’ll keep better track of your billing, and you won’t get overcharged.

  1. Mark your calendar. This helps you go back later and confirm appointment dates.
  2. Create files. At the very least, have one file for unpaid medical bills and one for paid ones; your system will work better if you have a separate “unpaid” file for each person on your health plan.
  3. Get a printed record of your visit. Before leaving the provider’s office, check the print-out of services you received to make sure it’s correct. When you get home, put it in your “unpaid” file.
  4. File the bills. When you get a bill, compare it to the print-out you got from the provider’s office, but don’t pay it yet. Put it in the “unpaid” file unless something seems incorrect. In that case, call your provider.
  5. Check your EOB. When your EOB arrives, compare it to your bill to make sure all of the charges make sense. According to research, as many as 8 out of 10 medical bills contain errors, so check carefully. Then file the EOB in your “unpaid” file.
  6. Pay the adjusted bill. Next, you should receive a bill that shows an adjusted charge, taking into account your insurer’s negotiated price and any deductibles or out-of-pocket limits you might have. Once again, compare the bill to the EOB and other documents. If all looks good, pay the bill, staple all the documents together, and put them in your “paid” file. If there’s a problem, contact your provider.

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