TIPS ON HOW TO HANDLE LARGE HOSPITAL BILLS
Have you ever received a bill in the mail from a hospital or ER that seems outrageous?
These healthcare services DO cost a lot, but there are also realities to overbilling, incorrect coding, and inflated bills.
Let’s work through an example so I can give you some tips on how to make sure you don’t overpay.
A family member of mine had a notable surgery at St. David’s Hospital last June. The hospital billed her insurance $425,000. The first thing I told her was to ask for an itemization of the bill. In her case, it was because she has some supplemental coverage that could assist in settling this bill.
So, the first step, she called the hospital for bill itemization. Insurance had not yet paid their aspect of this yet, and upon asking for itemization, they said they had adjustments of $395,000, with a pending $25,000.
What does this mean? It means that the surgery actually cost $25,000 NOT $425,000.
Regardless of what the insurance covered, my family member lives paycheck to paycheck, so even getting a bill for $25,000 is immense. Here are some steps to help you out if you have received a large bill like this:
- Apply for financial assistance.
- You do this with the hospital, where the bill came from.
- Many people get approved, and approval depends on your situation – your household size, your income, etc.
- If approved for financial assistance, you will receive a new, adjusted bill.
- Review this bill carefully.
- Let’s say this adjusted bill is $1,800.
- There are now two options:
- If you feel that the $1,800 is correct and reasonable based on the service, previous bills, and insurance coverage, then it is time to pay it.
- The other option is to wait for a collection letter.
- COLLECTION LETTER?!
- There’s a new rule that has been passed, which states that they cannot turn you into the credit bureau for a whole year for a medical bill.
- There are steps and systems in place for how collection letters work. After the 90-day period, you will receive a letter of collection. From here, there are options for how to pay it, especially if you believe it is an unfair bill. Once these steps have been put in place (MORE ON THIS NEXT WEEK), you can go about paying your bill, whether through financial assistance and monthly payments or as a once-off, knowing you are paying a fairly determined bill.
My goal in educating you on the prevalence of high and inflated medical bills is not to convince you not to pay them, but to assist you in advocating for yourself, and ensuring that when you DO pay them, you are only paying for a correctly determined bill for the services you received, at a correctly determined cost.
If you need more assistance please feel free to book a time with me.