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Cut Health Care Costs: Check For Billing Errors

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Ever go to the grocery store and get double billed on a box of macaroni and cheese? How about seeing an appetizer you never enjoyed on your restaurant bill? Those are like three dollar mistakes if you ever miss them. Now imagine if you missed a three hundred dollar procedure on a hospital bill (which are ridiculously obfuscated with codes and acronyms and written in some sort of alien shorthand), that’s a lot of missed appetizers and boxes of mac and cheese. Medical billing errors happen and they’re the subject of the fourth tip in CNN Money’s Fifty Ways To Cut Your Health-Care Costs.

They estimate that as many as 80% of hospital bills have errors and that amounts to a 25% increase, on average, in how much they’re charging. Personally, I think this is absolutely ludicrous considering they have computers but when you consider nurses work in shifts of twelve hours plus, three days straight (I don’t know the typical hours of anyone else in the medical profession, but I bet it’s ridiculous) it’s not surprising to see key-in errors (especially if they have to convert from English into alien short hand). So, they recommend that you keep a log of every test and medication you get and check it against your file, which can be ordered from the billing office. Request fixes via certified letter and make a copy of everything.

If you want to know more, check out this article on fighting medical billing errors.

Source: CNN Money

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2 Responses to “Cut Health Care Costs: Check For Billing Errors”

  1. andy says:

    We got a bill in November for a visit my wife paid to her doctor in APRIL when we suspected she was pregnant (she was, now she’s not, and I got one hell of a Christmas present :) ). This bill was four pages long, amounted to almost $200 that we’re expected to pay out of pocket, and strangest of all, lists what appears to be the same test over TWO DOZEN times, for the same amount of money each time.

    Now, I’m fairly sure that it’s a test related to her pregnancy test, but there’s got to be something wrong there. And if I have to pay for part of that test out of pocket, so be it – but I’m not paying for the same test 2 dozen times on the same day.

    Still trying to get it straightened out with the doctor’s office. I wasn’t allowed to talk to them about it due to HIPAA, nor was my wife’s mother allowed – and she works in that doctor’s office, again due to HIPAA (not allowed to talk to a person in the same office, about a patient of that office), so we had to sign some release forms just to start the conversation.

  2. Well, the great thing is that at least fifty percent of the errors favor the patient.

    http://sardonicynic.blogspot.com/2006/09/two-die-so-one-might-live.html


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