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Things You Should Be Aware of About Medical Bills

by Alice C. Woodhouse
June 18, 2009
There's currently a humongous clamor about the soaring expenses of medical bills, health insurance and the like. There are thousands of people in the country who barely have enough health coverage to protect them when the need arises and several thousands more who have extremely limited health insurance that they almost always have to pay remaining balances sometimes in the form of high co-payments. The rising health care costs are now at maximum, and it doesn't help the fact that there are recent studies and investigations turning up on how hospital bills are riddled with serious errors, duplicate charges, possible fraudulent charges and even inflation of services and supplies

1. Medical bills are a strange thing to behold, sometimes people think that they're written in another language. It may just be so! Sit down and take the time to read the bill. Really read it and try to understand where your money is going. To avoid feeling lost and confused, discuss with a family member or a close friend if you want, especially if they have a medical background so they can translate medical terminologies if you're not familiar with them.

2. If you see something that you doubt or something you just want to clarify, never be afraid or too timid to ask the nurse or the finance-in-charge. Ask them politely what this or that charge means. There are people who ignore their medical bill because they feel it's a hassle to go over one by one all the items or that they feel intimidated when they try to ask for information. They later realize that there are serious errors when that they should have looked over in the first place. In this case, ignorance is not bliss at all.

3. When you or any family member is in the hospital, as early as the first day of admission you should know what your options are. First, let yourself be aware that hospitals do slap extra dollars on their services, medical items, as well as drugs and medication. Doctors and nurses may automatically get an item for your patient and add it to your list of charges. The problem is you end up paying for more. An example would be simple items like syringes, wound bandages, cotton that you can buy for what would be a normal, cheap price in a drugstore have now an extra $2.75 on the hospital price tag. Prices are extremely high for dextrose, inhalers, tubes and other mandatory medical items already, so always ask the nurses to consult you first on cheaper alternatives. You should always do this for all medicine or drugs that are required from you. As much as possible ask for generic brand, and don't go immediately to the hospital drugstore so you don't end up paying for a lot more.

4. Finally, keep all receipts, documents and all papers pertaining to your hospital admission. Even diagnosis results, keep it! Insurance companies may require a lot, so it pays to be ready with paperwork so you can rule out a possibility that they might deny a coverage on some bills without correct receipts. If you're onto something on your bill you might want to try and tap into national consumer assistance before calling on lawyers (Yikes! Another fee to pay!)

Medical debt is currently the second reason why millions of Americans are drowning under debt, next only to credit card debt. Always inquire and be intouch with your insurance company so you'll know what they will pay for and what the limits are in the coverage.


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Things You Should Be Aware of About Medical Bills

 

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