When you are dealing with an expensive medical bill and are looking for a way to lower the cost, one option is to identify mistakes. Medical billing errors are actually a very common occurrence because of simple human mistakes, the complexity of billing codes or even as tricks for medical professionals to charge more.
As many as 8 in 10 medical bills contain an error that typically goes unnoticed by the patient who ends up paying more than they should for their treatment. One way to negotiate a lower medical bill is to find errors and overcharges and then notify the hospital so that they must be taken off the bill.
Request An Itemized Statement
The first step in looking for medical billing errors is to request an itemized statement that lists every specific charge. A bill typically will only have lump sums under certain headings instead of an itemized list of every expense on the bill, making it easier to miss any mistakes.
Requesting an itemized statement gives you the ability to review each charge and see if it is accurate according to the treatment you received. One of the easiest mistakes to spot is a duplicate charge which is a common error in medical bills. If you are charged for the same thing twice then you can quickly identify this problem and point it out to the healthcare provider as an obvious error.
A duplicate could also mean being charged for something that should already be factored into the cost of a hospital room or having two separate charges for similar items. Hospitals can often include these extra charges as a way to make extra money or it could be a legitimate mistake. Having these charges taken off your bill can sometimes help you save hundreds of dollars.
Aside from duplicate charges, there can also be errors in charging for certain procedures. If there is a charge in your itemized list for a kind of treatment, doctor visit or test that you know you never received then this is a mistake that can be removed from the bill. Another common error is charging for longer stays in the hospital than actually occurred.
Combing through an itemized list to find certain charges that seem suspicious can help to reduce the bill. If you find any kind of charge that you think could be a mistake then call the hospital, doctor or insurance provider immediately to sort out what you should really be paying. If talking to them on the phone does not resolve the issue then you can put it in writing and mail it to all the concerned parties.
The billing department will normally correct any obvious errors but sometimes there can be issues that are still in question and the process can become dragged out. It is important to dispute any charges that seem incorrect on your bill, not only to lower the overall cost but to be charged fairly and accurately for the procedures and treatment you actually received at the hospital.
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