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Paying Your Hospital Bill

Author: Heather Brunson

Published: 2009-02-26 : (Rev. 2013-06-14)

Synopsis and Key Points:

Helpful tips to avoid paying unexpected hospital bills and how to stay on top of your hospital bills.

Main Digest

Have you ever received a hospital bill and sat starting at the itemized statement with no idea what you were looking at

Not all of us are professional medical billers and can decipher these bills. Barring getting any medical billing training, here are some tips to help you stay on top of the medical billing process and keep your hospital costs in line.

Helpful Tips to Stay on Top of Your Hospital Bills

1. Pre-register - If you plan to stay in the hospital, the best advice is to pre-register. Some hospital stays are unexpected, but if you can plan ahead, you should. By pre-registering, you will know how approximately how much your hospital stay is going to cost and what to expect - hopefully eliminating any major surprises.

2. Know your insurance - You should be aware of any deductibles or co-payments. You might be required to pay them up front, so have your checkbook or credit card ready. This knowledge will also safeguard you against being charged too much.

3. Stay in network - This can be tricky! Check out all of the doctors beforehand. Make sure that everyone that is going to be treating you are in your insurance network. Some doctors at the hospital may not be in your insurance plan, causing headaches later. Hash it all out before if possible.

4. Bring your medication with you - If you are on a medication, bring it with you during your hospital stay. This will avoid any extra pharmacy charges.

5. Follow up if you don't understand - Don't just blindly pay your bill. If there is something that you don't understand or doesn't seem right, follow up. A simple phone call can explain the obscure medical code and make the medical billing process more clear to you. Also, ensure that you are looking at an itemized bill - the breakdown might enable you to find errors.

6. Stay organized - When you are admitted to the hospital, there may be multiple doctors assigned to your case - each of whom may send a separate bill. Keep it all straight by creating a file dedicated to your hospital stay.

7. Respond to correspondence from the hospital - If you are left with large, unpaid hospital charges that are deemed correct, make sure that you answer letters or phone calls from the hospital. The hospital most likely will try to contact you regarding financial arrangement, such as convenient monthly payments.

8. Beware of the statute of limitations - Each state has laws regarding medical bills and statute of limitations. If you receive a bill after this period of time has passed, don't pay any money. If you do, the statute of limitations will expire and you'll be responsible for the full amount.

These tips are designed to make you a proactive participant in your medical care. Don't let the medical billing process catch you off guard. Multiple bills, out-of-network doctors and large deductibles shouldn't take you by surprise. Do your homework and keep up with today's medical billers. They might have professional medical billing training, but you can do your own research and effectively manage your own hospital bills.

Reference: Heather H. Brunson is a lead marketing copywriter for Allied Medical School. Allied provides medical training programs that prepare students for careers in the medical transcription, medical billing and coding fields. Online courses offer students a quick and convenient way to learn - www.medtranscriptioncourse.com

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