Steps you need to take to dispute a medical bill
Whether you experience an unexpected hospital visit or undergo a planned procedure, medical bills can grow before your eyes. The financial burden of unexpected bills is enough to make anyone panic especially when charges are unclear or excessive.
The one thing you should never do when facing medical bills is ignore them. The sooner you make a move to resolve the issue, the better the outcome will be. Take these steps to dispute and negotiate medical costs.
Start With Your Provider
Reading a medical bill can feel like deciphering a foreign language, so take your time and highlight all the items of the bill you don’t understand or want to dispute.
Afterward, contact your healthcare provider’s billing department to ask questions. If your bill is a little complex, schedule an appointment to speak with someone face to face instead. This way you won’t feel rushed while walking through the charges.
Each time you speak with a representative about your bill on the phone or in person keep a record of the conversation including the date and time for future reference.
Gather Your Medical Documents
Request all bills and statements related to your dispute from your healthcare and insurance providers. The key document you need from insurance is the Explanation of Benefits or EOB. The EOB is an overview of what medical costs your insurance company covers (or plans to cover) according to your insurance plan.
Once your healthcare provider receives a check from your insurance company, the provider statement shows the cost of care in its entirety minus payments from insurance. The remaining balance is what you’re responsible for paying.
Compare your EOB with your healthcare provider statement. If you think insurance should pay more of the bill, review your insurance policy to understand your coverage. Then contact your insurance company.
Do Some Extra Research
Medical billing specialists make errors. If insurance doesn’t cover an expense it could very well be due to clerical error or double charges. You’re in a better place to catch these errors if you do a little research on your own.
Search online for medical codes to find out what they mean and follow-up with your doctor to understand the purpose of each procedure or medicine that insurance didn’t cover.
Information your healthcare provider submits also has a major impact on insurance coverage. Make sure information your provider has sent with your claim is correct and up-to-date.
Compare Medical Costs to Negotiate
The cost of medical care isn’t set in stone; that’s what the healthcare industry wants you to think. You have the power to negotiate your bills down even if you find they’re accurate. But, in order to do so, you’ll need to understand the “going price” for care.
Use resources like www.healthcarebluebook.com to help you find the average cost of your procedures and medications. Then take your research back to the provider to negotiate costs. Remember to use websites like this in the future to choose providers ahead of time that offer procedures at a competitive price.
Ask for Help
Speaking with billing specialists can be intimidating and that deters some patients from initiating a dispute. Ultimately, it’s your right to seek clarification on what you owe and the job of a medical coding specialist is to help you understand what the provider expects you to pay.
If you’re overwhelmed with medical bills, there’s no need to go through the stress of disputing on your own. We have a team of experienced advocates that can help you navigate the situation. And we only get paid if we’re able to save you money. Contact us today to speak with a Medical Billing Advocate!