Why You Should Always Get an Itemized Hospital Bill
When it comes to healthcare, sometimes it makes sense to get a second opinion. But when it comes to medical expenses, you should always get an itemized hospital bill. It should be part of your plan to keep medical debt under control.
An itemized bill is a line-by-line analysis of any charges. It includes things like:
- CPT or HCPCS code (used to specify what services were rendered)
- Costs for each line item
- The hospital's internal "revenue code" (the internal code the hospital uses to calculate its price)
In most cases, the hospital billing department will not provide a bill itemizing the costs of each service or procedure rendered. You typically have to ask for it. And then you should carefully review a detailed breakdown of your medical expenses. Here’s why.
How Does the Billing System Work for Medical Care?
One of the first things an itemized bill will tell you is how your medical provider’s billing system works.
Many medical providers will give you the total amount of money due and a brief explanation of the services rendered on the bill you receive. If you are just given a summary bill, it is best to ask for a detailed statement.
Each service and piece of medical equipment you are given will have its own line on the itemized bill, along with a corresponding monetary amount. Everything from lab tests to simple screenings, for example, should be accounted for.
Requesting an Itemized Hospital Bill
Get detailed invoices, not summaries, from your medical service providers by asking for them. Check them for inconsistencies line by line. If you had an unconscious procedure and are concerned about the accuracy of your billing, you can request a copy of your health records to compare to the charges billed.
The following are things to keep an eye out for while checking your bills:
• Overpriced services
• Costs associated with treatments or prescriptions you were never given.
• Inaccurate service dates
Similarly, if you have health insurance, verify that your medical bills correspond with your insurance provider’s explanation of benefits. Your health plan coverage may not be appropriately applied if they do not correspond.
Protect Yourself From Billing Mistakes
After a hospital stay, when several different providers may have been involved, it might be helpful to have a bill that breaks out each service rendered by each expert separately. Itemized bills allow you to catch common billing errors such as:
1. Fraudulent Billing
An itemized hospital bill gives you the power to ask about the number of room and board days that you have to pay for if you’re admitted. Even though it's not often permitted, many hospitals will even charge you for the day you leave their care.
2. False Data
Coverage amounts may be incorrect if your account number has an error in it or your name is misspelled. An emergency room visit that results in admission after midnight should not incur charges from the previous day.
3. Errors in Coding
Your disease or treatment can be classified incorrectly. It would be incorrect to mistake renal stones for kidney failure while categorizing a patient's condition. An itemized hospital bill allows you to detect such coding errors.
Itemized Bills Allow You to Counter-Check Prices
You may be charged hundreds or even thousands of dollars more than necessary for medical treatments if you don't request an itemized statement and carefully review it. So, have those bills broken down by item and examine them closely.
When you get an itemized bill, you can verify that you were charged a reasonable amount for the services you received. For popular treatments, hospitals are now required by the government to display their pricing online.
You can look up local facilities using a tool like Healthcare Bluebook to verify whether your bill was correctly priced or contact other providers to see their cash costs.
How Liberty HealthShare Can Help
The care you receive is nothing to take lightly, and the cost of the medical procedures you undergo shouldn’t be taken lightly either. When it comes to your health, you must keep your eyes peeled to ensure you're receiving the best care possible at a fair price. Asking for an itemized hospital bill and a self-pay discount can help you do that.
Another way to keep the high cost of medical care down is to join a medical cost-sharing program such as Liberty HealthShare. Liberty HealthShare is not insurance, but we provide an alternative way for you to pay your medical expenses.
We offer affordable sharing programs and insightful resources that can help you get the best medical care while also allowing you to compare prices and learn more about your options.
If you're interested in finding out more about reducing your healthcare expenses, please don't hesitate to contact Liberty HealthShare.