After a long bout (and six surgeries) with cancer, a journalist with the St. Petersburg Times wrote a column a couple of weeks ago called “Dealing with medical bills? Some advice from a survivor.” Levesque, the author, cautions readers to: know their copay, deductible, and how to scour medical bills for errors. His column has been reposted hundreds of times in just a couple of weeks. Even Cake Health’s tips for catching medial billing errors remains the top read post of all time on our blog.
“As journalists are fond of saying”, he writes, “if your mother says she loves you, check it out.” Details are important. Know your co-payments. I’m always surprised at how often I am quoted an inaccurate copay by a medical provider. If it tells you to pay an inflated copay, insist that it call your insurer.” Levesque also recommends that patients know their deductible.
“Track your medical expenses and know precisely when you meet your policy’s out-of-pocket maximum. I’ve discovered that medical providers routinely get this wrong. Some will keep billing you long after you max out.In one case, I overpaid a doctor by $1,000. It took a month to get the refund, but I got it.”
And finally, says Levesque, watch out for overbilling.
“Medical providers can double-bill, or bill you for services you didn’t receive. Look for errors. If something looks weird, pick up the phone and call the insurer.In one instance, I saw that my insurer was refusing to cover a room charge because I was in “a private room.” In fact, it wasn’t by choice. The hospital decided not to put a second patient in the room because of a mechanical problem with the bed.If I hadn’t read my bill closely, I would have paid it.”
The truth is, when patients see multiple doctors at multiple facilities, things can get very, very complicated.
One of the things Cake Health does is to help patients catch errors.
An astounding 80% of medical bills have errors, according to Christie Hudson, vice president of Medical Billing Advocates of America.
Common billing errors include mis-typing numbers (it’s easy to add a zero!) or double billings.
Learn more about Cake’s free service to help you catch billing errors.