Generally, we assume most of the bills sent to us are correct. Or, we have not not taken the time to guarantee the amount we are charged is the correct amount. With the number of issues the hospitals and physicians are having today, don’t rely on their computers or even their personnel to guarantee the accuracy of your bill before it is sent. It’s up to you to make sure you are paying no more than is correct and for only services provided. Before writing that check or handing over your debit or credit card information, check your bill.
Obtain Physician Cost Before Having Procedures or Treatments Performed
Every physician has a schedule of cost. Before the doctor even begins to provide treatment or begins performing the procedure, have an itemized list drawn up and given to you. The list should include any and all medications given while under, including the anesthetics. Do not allow a physicians assistant or any office personnel to give you an estimated cost. Have the cost presented to you in advance. If there are any unforeseen, you can discuss the cost later with the physicians or his office personnel. Doctors and their personnel are fully aware of the dynamics of any medical issues. The cost is well known in advance. They are going to make sure you are charged for all treatment or procedures. Do not allow office personnel to state that they will not know the full depth of the cost until you are admitted and they go in! Even exploratory surgical procedures have a fixed cost.
Obtain Hospital or Surgical Center Cost Before Being Admitted For a Procedure
Today, most procedures and their cost are itemized by the provider. For instance, a physician will generally provide you with their charges only. Their office will inform you that other cost will be billed such as the hospital cost, an anesthesiologist cost, laboratory cost, etc. You may find yourself receiving a bill from the hospital, the doctor, a laboratory or even an outsourced agency. Before going in for a procedure, have your physician provide all individuals and offices you will receive a bill from. The personnel will be well aware of those individuals involved in your care. The cost might not be something they are aware of so if not, you can contact the proper individuals to obtain their fees.
Review Paperwork in Advance and Question all Outlined Charges or Fees
Do you remember the comedies that had a patient questioning every charge they received on a hospital bill? For instance a prime example of this is depicted in a scene from the movie “Murphy’s Romance.” In the movie, Sally Fields is in the hospital with a hospital gown on. She is crying about the cost of her stay. She states even an aspirin is costing her money. While this was meant to be entertainment, it is true. A bottle of aspirin in the store can cost you as little as $1. However, taking an aspirin in the hospital can cost you $20. No matter how incredible that seems, it is so true. Yet, patients do not realize they have the right to say no to a hospital aspirin and bring their own. Before taking that pill, make sure you know what it is, why it is being given and if it is necessary. Remember also, if you are not in pain, do not ask for pain medicine. The cost will add up and not always will your insurance pay.
Remember however, you are not the physician. You have given your physician the go ahead and should be confident in his decisions. If not, seek another physician. Let him or her make the determination as to what is necessary for your complete recovery.
If you think all bills are correct before they are sent to you, think again. People make errors. Often even most of the time, the office personnel only review a bill when the patient questions its accuracy.