If you identify hospital billing errors, and bring it to the attention of the hospital, but they are unwilling to correct the errors, you may want to turn to a trained professional, such as a Patient Advocate, to help you appeal the bill and to act on your behalf to negotiate with the hospital for you. Personal Patient Advocates are more and more being called upon to help patients because there are so many hospital billing errors. Their services can save a patient hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Did you know that billing errors made on your hospital bill can ruin your credit score? The American medical billing system is so complex errors are inevitable. Some are human errors that happen when someone enters the wrong charge, diagnosis, or procedure code. Catching a hospital billing error can be very difficult to identify, and if your insurance company refuses to pay the bill, you might end up holding the bag.
Hospital bills in this country are complicated and unless you are a medical or coding professional it is easy to get confused by some of the details listed on your bill. Every hospital bill needs to be reviewed for discrepancies. If your hospital bill lists operating room charges, but you were in the hospital for complications of your diabetes, and did not have any surgery, that will stand out to you. However, other hospital billing errors might not be so easy for you to catch. If your insurance picks it up and refuses to pay, you might ultimately have to pay for it. The second highest cause of personal bankruptcy behind credit cards in this country is medical bills.
Both surgical and medical procedures often cost thousands of dollars. One simple coding error can add several thousand dollars to your bill. When your insurance company does cover the entire bill when errors are present, the excess costs are passed along to everyone in the form of higher insurance premiums, so it’s important for all of us to find and correct hospital billing errors.
If you are insured you probably are responsible to pay a percentage of your bill out-of-pocket. One simple hospital billing error could result in a grossly inflated cost you. Some hospital billing errors result in overcharges, and that is one of the most common errors. Multiple charges for the same treatment or medication is another common hospital billing error. It is possible that duplicate charges are valid, but this type of hospital billing error is so common it should never be overlooked.
Common hospital billing errors include: (1) Being charged twice for the same procedure, treatments, medications and supplies (2) Incorrect admission and discharge dates. You should be charged for either the day of admission, or the day you are discharged, but not both (3) Charges for a private room when you were in a shared room (4) Operating Room time charges billed on an “average” time, not actual time needed to perform an operation (5) Medication and/or service billed at the higher rate when the physician actually ordered a less expensive or generic form, and sometimes for both. (6) Typos can happen to anyone, an error in data entry can result in an overcharge (7) Canceled or changed medication, treatment or procedure that still shows up on your final bill.