How to Check Hospital Bills

How to Check Hospital Bills. Hospital stays can be extremely expensive, even when you're just paying a 20 percent co-pay. Often times, however, the hospital over charges. You should always double check your bills from a hospital stay to make sure you're only paying what you have to.

Call everyone ahead of time. Before you go into the hospital for a procedure, make some phone calls. Call the insurance company to find out how much of the hospital visit they pay and how much you have as a co-pay. Call the doctor if you can to find out how much the procedure costs. Call the hospital's billing department to find out the cost of each type of room and what gets charged extra. If you do the math ahead of time, you won't be completely shocked when you see the bill afterward.

Keep a diary. During the entire hospital stay, you'll want to keep track of everything. Write down the day you arrive and the day you're released. Make a note of all the doctors you end up seeing and every procedure you go through (x-rays, surgery, physical therapy). Keep track of everything you get extra such as slippers, telephone calls and food. If you know everything that happened, you have something to compare your bill to so you can check for inaccuracies.

Get it in English. Your bill may likely be itemized by computer code with no indication of what each line is for. Ask for a "plain English" version. Then you can see each thing you were charged for and see if it matches up with everything in the diary you kept.

Check the dates. One of the biggest mistakes the hospital computer makes when making a bill is charging for extra days. You don't want to be charged for three days of a room stay if you were only there for two nights.

Delete the duplicates. Among the biggest hospital billing errors is duplicating lines. They may charge for an x-ray on two separate days, or hit a code twice in a row by accident. When it comes to hospital billing, a typo can mean a bigger cost to you.

Work out the math. The computer may have just added wrong. Get yourself a calculator and add up all the lines. Sometimes numbers can get carried incorrectly. Your final sum might be off.

Tips

  • If you do happen to find an error on your bill, call the hospital's business office as soon as you spot the error. Then call your insurance company and inform them of the mistake as well. Make sure you have copies of everything as proof.

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