Never pay the first medical bill that you receive following care.
At least, that’s the advice from Mashall Allen, a ProPublica reporter and author of a book about how to reduce your medical bills.
And Allen could have a point. It’s estimated that up to 80 percent of all medical bills contain some sort of error – and most of the time, these errors result in the patient being overcharged for services that they’ve received. In other words, very rarely is a medical billing mistake one that is favorable to the patient.
With many Americans having received medical care following a COVID-19 diagnosis and with many more Americans having put off medical care during the early days of the pandemic that they’re now opting to receive, now’s as good of a time as ever to cover what to do after you receive the bill. And based on the tips that we’ll share here, you’ll see that Allen might have a valid point in his advice to never pay the first one.
How to Spot Medical Billing Errors
Let’s take a look at some tips and tricks on how to spot potential medical billing errors:
Was Your Insurance Billed?
Make sure you carefully look at the invoice that you receive following care. Many bills will include wording designed so that you pay for it quickly without adequately analyzing it. So take a look at the itemized bill that you receive and make sure that your insurance was billed. There should be a line item stating what the total cost of the care was and how much of it your medical insurance covered. If It seems like your insurance wasn’t billed, make sure to call and ask them to bill your insurance company.
Check the Billing Codes
Itemized medical bills should have billing codes – and a simple Google search of these billing codes can tell you what exactly you’re being billed for and what the average cost of care is for such a service. It’s a great way to make sure that what you’re being charged is in line with what the going rate is for such a service. Depending on what you find, you may choose to contest what you’ve been charged. You can also check the website FairHealthConsumer.org to make sure that you’re not being overcharged for any medical services you’ve received.
Medical bills can be confusing, so it never hurts to put in a call either to your insurer or to the medical provider just to ensure you have a better understanding of what you’re being charged for, what your insurance is covering and why it’s covering it. Even if you don’t end up discovering an error or contesting your bill, just having the peace of mind that you’re being billed fairly can go a long way.