As if it’s not bad enough that your senior had a health emergency, now you have to deal with a huge hospital bill. Even worse, that bill might not be correct! One healthcare expense management company says they’ve found errors in over 80% of the medical bills they’ve reviewed. If you’re going to pay, it should only be for services your older adult actually received! In this article from our friends at The Dollar Stretcher, get tips on how to make sure your senior’s hospital bill is correct and why you should ask for a discount.
Hospital bills can be an absolute nightmare. They catch you at your worst time, when you’re feeling sick, miserable and you can’t deal with any more stress. It doesn’t help when you realize that you’re being charged more than you should be. Forget about overpaying on hospital bills, here are some simple ways to prevent overpaying.
Bring someone with you to the hospital. Whether you are in the hospital for a few hours or for a few days, you need someone with you to support you and help to keep track of what procedures and medications you are getting. During a hospital visit, I had a friend keep track of everything by asking the nurse and doctors questions about what they were doing and what they were giving me. That list proved handy when I realized I was charged thousands of dollars for a procedure I never received.
Get an itemized hospital bill and don’t accept anything less. I received my hospital bill with nothing more than the dates I was at the hospital and how much I owed. I called up and asked for a completely itemized bill so that I would be able to review everything. How are you supposed to know if you’re being overcharged if you can’t see what they’re charging you for?
Go over your hospital bill with a fine tooth comb and sound mind. Compare the bill to the list of procedures that you had done and medications that you received. Make sure to do this when you are wide awake and fully prepared to do it. The last thing you should do is review the bill after a long, hard day when your thoughts could be scattered. You could end up skipping over a charge that you shouldn’t have in the first place.
Don’t hesitate to ask questions about what you don’t understand. If you see something on the hospital bill that is abbreviated or just a long medical term that you can’t comprehend, don’t hesitate to call and ask what it is. You have every right to thoroughly know what you’re paying for. If you aren’t satisfied with the answers that you are getting, ask to speak to a supervisor.
Ask to negotiate your bill. You would be surprised at how just asking the hospital to negotiate can get a reduction in your bill. Hospitals want their money and they don’t want to send you to collection. Otherwise, the collection agency gets a piece of their payment. Some hospitals will be more then willing to help you out. I negotiated quite a bit off my bill, but only because I wasn’t afraid to ask. It’s your money and you have a right to ask them to work something out.
There is no excuse for overpaying on your hospital bill. Medical expenses cost enough that you shouldn’t have to pay more than you have to. You are the patient, and you have every right to fight for what you deserve.
You might also like:
— How to Lower Medical Bills: CoPatient Helps Seniors and Caregivers
— How an Elder Law Attorney Can Help Seniors and Caregivers
— Benefits Programs Help Pay for Caregiving Expenses
The Dollar Stretcher has been providing time and money saving information to readers since 1996. For more articles on Baby Boomers, caregiving, and retirement, check out this TDS article on Keeping Financial Records Safe as well as the TDS Baby Boomer library. And sign up for the TDS “After 50 Finances” newsletter too!
Image: Kaiser Health News