5 Things You Should Do Before Paying A Medical Bill
Real Simple|April 2019
5 Things You Should Do Before Paying A Medical Bill

Up to 80 Percent of Medical Bills May Contain Errors, Experts Say. Take These Steps to Check Charges, Lower Costs, and Avoid Unhappy Surprises.

Caylin Harris

1 Verify your information.

First check that the bill was in fact run through your insurance and that your insurance information is correct, says Adria Gross, a medical billing advocate and the founder of MedWise Insurance Advocacy. Occasionally, a billing company will mail a bill without running it through insurance. Or there might just be an error— even leaving one number off your insurance ID can make it seem like your policy is invalid.

2 Ask for an itemized list.

Providers should send a lineitem breakdown that shows how they came up with the total. If your bill doesn’t have one, ask for it. Then make sure everything on the bill is a test, medication, or service you received during your appointment or hospital stay, says Teresa Brown, senior director of the hospital division at Medliminal, a company that specializes in medical cost containment. “Check units and quantities,” she says. “I was talking to somebody whose husband had a CT scan, and they billed her twice. We’ve seen a toothbrush billed for $1,000. So look for extra zeros and other numbers.”

3 Research billing codes.

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April 2019