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6 Medical Bill Tips for When You Are Discharged From the Hospital

April 18, 2011 | Comments: 0 | Views: 144

Medical bill anxiety is frequently caused by miscommunications and misunderstanding between patients, medical providers, and health insurance companies. This article describes several general strategies that you should perform immediately after you or a family member are discharged from the hospital. These medical bill strategies will help save you time, money, and anguish down the road.


If you have health insurance, your insurance company provides you with excellent resources including online access to claims, EOBs, your benefit plan, their in-network provider list, and pricing tools that will tell you what your patient responsibilities will be for different types of care at different facilities. You may have to register if you have not signed on before. Registering is easy. All you need is your benefit card and your birth date.


For every service you have done, you will receive a bill from the provider and an Explanation of Benefits (EOB) from your health insurance company. An EOB is a notice from the insurance company that tells you if the insurance company paid and what is due from the patient to the provider, if anything. If you have health insurance, it is very important that you keep track of all the bills and EOBs that you receive. The insurance company use EOBs to communicate your coverage and payment to your provider. Billing representatives at the provider can almost always see your EOBs when you are on the phone with them. It is not fair if you can't see them too.


If you've recently had a hospital stay or been admitted to a hospital through the emergency room, you are going to get several bills and they are not all going to be from the hospital. You are going to get bills from the emergency medicine physicians in the ER, the radiology group that read your x-rays and MRIs, the pathology group that analyzed your lab tests, the specialist physicians and surgeons who looked after you once you were admitted to the hospital, and the hospital facility itself. You may have follow-up office visits with a specialist, several types of ongoing treatments, physical therapy, or home care.

I recommend keeping a log of all telephone calls so you can accurately keep track of all dates, people you speak to, and what is discussed.


Verify that the charges, discounts, and patient responsibilities match on your provider statements and EOB. Also check you benefit plan to make sure your health insurance company applied your deductibles and coinsurance correctly for the services you received.


If there are discrepancies between you statements, EOBs, or benefit plan, you can ask the provider to conference call you and your insurance company together so they can hash it out. Definitely do this if the patient responsibility on the patient statements and the EOB do not match. The provider cannot bill you for more than the patient responsibility on the EOB if it is a service covered in your benefit plan. Once the conference call starts and you have voiced your concern, just listen while they work it out.


After any disparities have been reconciled between the provider and the health insurance company, all the parties should agree on the patient liability portion. At this time you can apply for financial aid if you have not done so already. You will have to fill out a one to three page application and send photo-copies of your last two pay stubs or your last tax return. If you qualify for financial hardship, the provider may decide to adjust your balance based an income scale discount. Regardless of whether a financial aid determination is made, you can still request to pay the balance on an agreed plan. This will allow you to stretch out the payments over several months if needed.

Contributed by Nicholas Newsad, M.H.S.A., author of The Medical Bill Survival Guide and the founder of Nick has been interviewed and quoted by the Today Show, L.A. Times, NY Daily News, Tampa Tribune,,, and numerous other radio shows, magazines, and newspapers.

Source: EzineArticles
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