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How To Review A Hospital Bill And What To Do If You Find An Error

Why Review Your Hospital Bill

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  • Mistakes happen. Studies indicate that hospital bills are frequently inaccurate - and that most errors are in favor of the hospital. According to Charles Inlander of People's Medical Society, some of the most common errors to watch for are the following:
    • Double billing - being charged twice for the same service or medication.
    • "Up coding" - changing the description of a service from a lower-cost one to a more expensive one. An easy to understand example is being charged for an expensive brand name drug when what you received was the less expensive generic version.
    • "Unbundling" - charging for one service as if it is two. For example, removing two growths at the same time, and charging as if there were two procedures instead of one.
    • Services or medications that were not provided.
  • Disputes with a doctor or hospital can affect your credit rating if you are sued or if a bill is turned over to a collection agency.  
  • Hospital costs are one of the main reasons for increased medical costs, including premiums and co-pays. 
  • If you are covered by insurance:
    • You may be responsible for a deductible or a percentage of the bill. 
    • The higher your deductible, the less incentive your insurance company has to provide oversight on your claim.
    • It is doing your part to help keep health costs - and ultimately your premium - down.

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