Understanding Confusing Medical Bills for Seniors

Senior couple studying Confusing Medical BillsThe rising cost of medical bills is a concerning issue, particularly if you are retired and are facing health challenges. As the cost of medical procedures increases, a large number of American adults are filing for bankruptcy. The high cost is expected to cause 1.7 million individuals and families to file for bankruptcy, reported Today.com. Although the numbers are troubling, it does not mean you do not have options to help improve your personal situation.

Check For Obvious Errors

Before you assume that the price given on your medical bill is accurate, read through the details and check it for accuracy. Roughly 80 percent of medical bills have an error, according to Mint.com. The errors can come from simple mistakes in inputting data, coding errors or bugs in the system.

Check the dates printed on the bill. If the date is inaccurate, pay attention to the service. Even if you did get a blood test, the wrong date might indicate that other mistakes are on the bill. Look for any other obvious mistakes on your bill, such as services that you did not receive. Highlight any mistakes you notice so that you can address it with the hospital.

Understand the Codes

Although you may not understand the meaning behind the number code you see on your bill, it is a vital identification method used by your insurance provider to determine the amount that you owe after the majority of your bill is paid.

The code you are likely to see on your bill is the Current Procedural Terminology code, or CPT Code. The five-digit medical billing and coding helps prevent confusion and complications when a hospital submits the bill to your insurance provider. If the code still gives you trouble, consider reaching out to someone with higher education on the subject, like a student from a Penn Foster medical billing and coding school.  If you received more than one service during a doctor’s visit, such as a booster shot for immunizations during a routine physical, you will see more than one code listed on the same bill.

The International Statistical Classifications of Diseases code, or ICD code, is not usually printed on your bill. Although it is used by the hospital to help classify and diagnose problems with your health, most medical facilities will not put the code into your bill.

Charges and Adjusted Fees

Your medical bill will state the exact charge that the hospital or doctor is giving to your insurance provider. This is not the amount that you will pay. The adjusted fee is the amount that a service costs after the hospital talks to your insurance provider and makes changes based on the amount your insurance covers and any discounts that apply to your account.

The adjusted fees will factor in your co-payment, so look for any payments that you have already made. If your co-payment is not showing on your bill, then contact the hospital or doctor’s billing office to ask about payments you have already made before leaving the office.

Look For Indications That Your Insurance Information is Missing

A medical bill will state if you have not provided insurance information or when the information is incomplete. If the hospital or medical office does not have the information, then you can clear up misunderstandings by making a phone call and providing all of your insurance data.

Although it is tempting to ignore the details of a bill and skip straight to the final number showing how much you owe, it is useful to look through the bill before you make a payment. The hospital can make billing errors and it can prevent hours of frustration if your bill is higher than you expected.

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