How closely do you examine your medical bills? If you simply pay them before scanning them carefully, you likely pay a lot more than you should. It’s a frustrating nuisance. But closely inspecting every itemized medical bill you receive is a key factor in avoiding billing errors. On AgingCare.com, Sheri Samotin tells us that 49 percent of investigated Medicare claims contained medical billing errors.
This finding, courtesy of a 2013 NerdWallet Health study, also found that about these mistakes resulted in approximately 26 percent overpayment for the actual care services provided. So what steps can be taken to spot medical billing errors? Here are four:
1. Keep records of all contacts with health care providers.
It’s important to be able to compare your own numbers with the numbers you eventually see on your medical bills. When on the phone with a doctor, for example, be sure to write down the information provided to you. The costs of the medication and/or procedure shouldn’t be a fading memory. Having your own record of the information given to you will help to easily identify potential discrepancies in future.
“Keep detailed written records of every contact you have with the health care provider or insurance company,” insists Samotin, “This includes dates, times, names, what was said, next steps, etc. If you fax something, keep a copy. If you email something, keep a copy. If you mail something, you guessed it, keep a copy.”
2. Request itemized copies of all bills.
It’s not enough to simply have a charge next to the name of a medication or treatment. It’s important to get details. Your bill should be itemized to include, not just prices, but descriptions about what the charges are for. This will help you become more aware about what the appropriate charges should be.
“When a medical provider sends you a bill, it’s normally a summary,” informs Christina LaMontagne on Forbes.com, “It will list amounts due under categories like ‘laboratory’ or ‘miscellaneous,’ but without an itemized bill, you won’t have any insight into what these charges are actually for.”
3. Get all promises in writing.
When you are given a quote, be sure to request it in writing. This could involve estimates about the cost of a follow-up medical visit or piece of medical equipment. As mentioned earlier, it’s important to keep your own notes. But, when possible, get a medical provider to print out the quotes given to you. That way, you can easily compare your quotes to the charges on your bill.
“If a customer service representative makes you a promise, get it in writing,” advises Samotin, “For example, if an employee in the hospital’s billing department says they will adjust or write off a charge, ask for written confirmation, preferably by email. If a claims adjuster says that they will investigate your issue, ask for them to write you a note indicating this, along with a projected timeframe for when you can expect a response.”
4. Contact experts who can help you.
At Allegiant Experts, we identify facts, locate errors and illuminate the truth. We also ensure that we keep our clients informed during every step of the process. It’s part of our mandate to always provide our best and most qualified opinion as we strive to meet your needs. For more information about how we help to both dispute and minimize medical billing errors, please don’t hesitate to call us at 407-217-5831. You may also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.