Check Those Bills
Think there’s no reason to review your medical bills? Think again. Experts estimate that 40-80% of all medical bills contain errors. Here are some ways that can help you find and correct billing mistakes.
- Know what you’ve got. Understanding your coverage will help you know what to look for.
- Get it in writing. Don’t assume you don’t need to see your bills if your insurance company reviews them. Get copies of everything, especially for hospital stays and hospital pharmacy charges, and review them closely. Then compare them to any bills, EOBs (Explanation of Benefits), and other paperwork you get later.
- Open that mail! Don’t throw bills or mail form your benefits provider in a file until later. Some insurers have a deadline for appealing charges. Open bills and EOBs right away, and call immediately if you see a problem.
- Stay in-network. In-network physicians, labs, hospitals, etc. not only give you the best prices, but they also typically communicate more reliably and efficiently with your insurer.
- Talk to your doc. Physicians don’t always think about the cost of a test, medication, or procedure before ordering it. And they probably won’t know which clinic, lab, or other provider is in your network. If a physician recommends an out-of-network provider, ask for an in-network option.
- Break the code. If you do talk to someone about problems with a bill, you might hear that the provided services were “coded” incorrectly. If that’s the case, your best option is usually to ask your healthcare provider to help you get it corrected-regardless of who made the mistake.
- Act Fast. Again, there’s usually a deadline for appealing charges. Don’t waste money by wasting time.
- Get help. If you’re running into walls or find yourself confused by charges and bills, your employer’s human resources team should be able to help you or connect you with someone who can.