Everyone may have been faced with a situation where they doubted the medical bills they were presented with. You go to a doctor, request for some tests to be done or some procedures carried out, then a few months down the line, you are slapped with a huge medical bill, that if you pay as is, then will surely offset yours financially.
In some cases, you may have thought that the entire bill would be covered by your medical insurance company, but when you make inquiries, you are told that it is not covered, or just a part of it would be covered. Contrary to your expectations, you are now faced with a bill in the tunes of hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
You can bet that it will be frustrating and infuriating at the same time, and you will be left with a feeling of hopelessness, while at the back of your mind, you are also faced with an obligation you know you can’t afford at your current financial situation. But what you and many other people who might find themselves in this situation don’t know is that medical bills are sometimes not accurate and it is possible to dispute them and be presented with a reasonable bill.
Studies indicate that nearly half of the bills patients are presented within different hospitals across the country usually have lots of errors. Most people are never aware of the errors and will gladly pay for all of them, partly because they are covered by a health insurance and they will not be meeting the expense out of their pockets. It is sad to also mention that the health care system is very complicated and most patients never know when and if they are getting overcharged.
Sometimes, being a little skeptical may help you save a lot of money when it comes to paying the medical bills. The next time you are slapped with a bill and you doubt if it is really correct, take time and find out more about it and know if the figures are really correct. Don’t just pay blindly when there could be potential errors that might end up costing you a lot of money. Here are some of the approaches you can use to dispute a medical bill intelligently -:
Pay close attention to the bills
It will nearly impossible to dispute bills you aren’t understanding. The first step towards disputing such bills happen to be a very simple one, but one which so many people usually ignore and end up contending with the huge bills. Most people find it easy to look at the figure at the bottom, yet they ignore everything in between. Take time and pay very close attention to every item on the bill, its unit cost, and the total cost. If the bill you are presented with doesn’t include any detail, simply ask to be given an itemized copy with all the details. Once you have the itemized copy, go through it with a fine tooth comb, checking against the billing codes to see the procedures, tests, and drugs you are required to pay for.
It may not be possible to have a good understanding of the procedures and the drugs, but you can always use the internet to make a comparison between what you have been presented with and what other facilities around are offering. In this manner, you will be able to identify if there are any errors, and also have an idea of you are paying more than you should be paying after doing a comparison with other facilities around.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions
Before you make the final decision to dispute a bill, take time and have a word with the doctors at the facility you got the treatment and also with your insurance company. This is going to take some time and you may get frustrated along the way, but it is necessary that you do this. With all the details in your hand, be sure to ask every question you have in mind to clear any doubts you may have about the bill.
While you ask the questions, take note of the day, the person you talked to, the question you asked and the response they provided. Maintaining a record of such may be helpful in the future should you decide to go ahead and dispute the bill.
Compare the costs with what is available online
With the advent of the internet, you can easily tell whether or not you are paying more for a product or service. With regards to medical bills, the services, procedures, tests and the medication will you be charged for are also available in other facilities around, and all you need to do if you think you are overly charged by one facility is to simply hit the internet and begin comparing the rates.
In as much as facilities will charge different rates, you should be able to find an average range charged by the majority. It things seem disproportionate, then it is likely that you have been overcharged, and you should probably get back to your hospital and have them double check your bill. If they don’t you will have more grounds to dispute the high bills they just presented you with.
File the dispute in writing
Once you have all the information you need and you are convinced that you have a case, go ahead and file an official dispute in writing, and include copies of all the documents you have to support your dispute. If there are some parts of the bill that you are not disputing, go ahead and pay for them so that you only deal with the segments or sections in dispute. You want to give an impression that you are cooperating with them so that your bill doesn’t go to the collection while the dispute process is still on. You may also want to consider pre-settlement funding to meet part of the bill not in dispute and also to take care of your other financial obligations if you happen to need urgent funding and you are not in a position to continue with your regular job.