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Most of us who have health insurance are not too concerned about a hospital bill. We believe our insurance will take care of most of it. However, most health insurance policies do not cover or pay 100% of the charges. Much of what is not covered or paid is passed on to you, the patient. In addition, the insurance company does not know whether all of the treatment and related expenses on your bill are valid. The company can make certain determinations as to whether or not a particular charge is consistent with your illness or injury. But beyond that it’s up to you.

A whopping 90% of all hospital bills have errors, and is it any surprise that 75% of them favor the hospital? Some of the common mistakes you will find are the same supplies billed by more than one department, unrequested personal supplies—such as toothpaste, and charges for services not rendered. Making certain bills are correct not only saves you and your insurance company money, but it may also slow the rise of your premiums.

What can you do?


* Keep a log. It might seem tedious, but if you keep track of treatments, supplies, medications and services rendered, you can ensure that you will not be overcharged. If you are not always able to keep your log, enlist the aid of friends and family.

Notify the hospital staff that you are keeping a log; it might force them to be more careful.
* Check your bills closely. If you keep a log, check it carefully against an itemized bill. To make the process even easier, request a daily bill. The hospital might complain, but they should comply. It also alerts the billing department that you are on top of your bill. Question any charge that you don’t understand or that does not appear correct.
* Consult with your insurance company. Sometimes they can assist or give pointers.

Overcharges and erroneous charges are not usually intentional and are sometimes just the result of a complicated system. But with a little attention to detail, you can make it simpler and keep hose bills down.