Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Why You Should Review Your Medical Bills (And Be Honest About it)

At the end of a medical appointment, when you're back home again and (hopefully) feeling much better, your mailbox will be filled with little slips of paper from your medical provider. Simple appointments might have just one or two charges, but if you've dealt with something serious, your bills might have hundreds of entries, all attached to some kind of fee. It's easy enough to just toss out these bills and let the insurance company sort out the charges, but I think everyone who sees a medical professional has a responsibility to perform a close review and really look over everything that's been charged. It's the best way to ensure that our healthcare system stays healthy and robust.

The bills are generated by the people who give your care, and sometimes, these people make mistakes. They're human, and life can get really hectic when a patient is having a significant amount of medical difficulty. Some charges get missed in the shuffle, and if those charges aren't caught, the facility could lose money.

Most facilities compare bills with medical charts, and the billing professionals ensure that each entry in a chart corresponds with a charge on the bill, but you might also have a memory of the things that you've been through. Perhaps you have a cast but see no charges for that cast, or perhaps you took medications but see no pills on your bill. Pointing out these errors might not cost you anything at all, but they could help the medical facility you use to make money and stay in business. If you'd like the company to be there when you need them in the future, it might behoove you to make sure the company is getting paid for all of the care you received.

At times, you might find that charges on your bill don't correspond to any treatment you received. These errors are also good ones to point out. The insurance company might spot them, but when they do, the facility might be required to wait for weeks or months before the error is corrected and the bill is resubmitted and paid. If you point out the error early, you may speed up this process.

About the Author: David Weinstein, Cherry Hill, NJ, resident, has worked in the healthcare industry for over 25 years. He's currently opening a new business venture, the MedAsset Management Company, which will provide healthcare management and consulting services to clients across the country. The company will be headquartered in Cherry Hill, NJ, David Weinstein says.

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