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How To Catch or Avoid Medical Billing Errors

If you know what to look for when reading your hospital or medical bill, the process of understanding the charges can become a much more easy process, albeit an arduous task. This is a list of a medical bill’s most common inaccuracies, as well as what you, the consumer and patient can do if you notice this on your bill:  

    Length of Stay (Days in the Hospital): It is very common for a hospital to charge for the day you were admitted, not the day you were discharged. Do you know when you were admitted and discharged? Check these dates with those on your medical bill. 

    False Room Charges: What kind of room were you in? Was it private? Semi-private? Check to see that you were not being charged for a private room when you indeed shared the room with another patient.  

    Double Billing:Do you know what tests or medications you received? Check to ensure the accuracy of this bill to confirm with what you were provided during your hospital stay and prevent duplicate billing

    Keyboard Error: Most hospital documentation is now completed on a computer by physicians, nurses, and other ancillary staff. If there is an error in typing, this can cost you hundreds to thousands of dollars that you are not required to pay for services you did not receive. Make sure you examine your bill thoroughly.  

    OR Time: It is very common and for a hospital to document more time that was spent in the operating room than was actually used. It is your right to compare this time to the records documented by the anesthesiologist. Compare the two.  

    Increasing the Code: At times, hospitals will order a lower cost medication or service; however, the patient is charged for a more pricey medication or service.

    Services Rendered? Are you aware of all the services that you received or medications you were given? Check your bill to make sure that nothing was billed for what you did not receive. 

    Canceled Orders: As in previous examples, ensure your bill is accurate. Physicians are constantly ordering tests and procedures, as well as medications that are frequently cancelled. Make sure you were not charged for a service that was cancelled and you did not receive.  

What To Do If You Notice Errors

Upon review of your medical bill, if you notice there are errors, contact the hospital or provider’s billing office, as well as your insurance company. If the provider will not accept your claim, and your insurance company is not able to assist you in this manner, there are trained professionals who specialize in reviewing medical bills, who will assist in reviewing your bill, as well as negotiating a better rate for you. These firms work on an individual and incident basis; they receive their money based upon the amount that they save you, the patient and consumer. With this said, their rates can be as high as 50%, so before you hire someone to review your bills, make sure you understand their charges prior to allowing them to help you. If this is not an option for you, check the consumer protection office in your state, or the state’s Attorney General for further assistance with the hospital and insurance company.