Review the Accuracy of Medical Bills
I’ve been fortunate that my last few trips to a doctor were regular check-ups. I have, when I was younger, gone for more serious reasons like a fractured bone or some other “minor” issue (as opposed to something more serious and systemic). One of the big lessons I have from those experiences was that you really need to review your bills, or those Explanation of Benefits (EOB), forms because you never know when you’ll find an error.
One of the trickiest jobs in the world has to be medical billing. Think about how long it takes for you to understand your health insurance coverage, now picture a poor medical biller who has to deal with a dozen different insurance plans every single day. The amount of training and practice that requires must be astounding, even given all the technological help they get. Medical coding errors have to be expected. The biller isn’t doing it intentionally (it’s not like they’re paid based on that), they’re just doing their job.
Let’s say your insurance gets charged for a more expensive procedure (or a more expensive wrong procedure) but you don’t pay anything out of pocket (beyond your deductible). Since it “cost” you nothing, is it worth challenging the bill and telling your insurance about the error? Yes. Most health insurance plans have a cap as to how much they will reimburse, both annually and lifetime, so it’s important that the billing is accurate. If you are billed for a $5,000 procedure when you only had a $500 one, that’s $4500 from your lifetime/annual cap that you can’t use anymore. Those are medical services you may need one day that you will have to pay for out of pocket because of a medical billing error.
So the next time you get one of those EOBs, double check it. It’s in everyone’s best interests to keep medical costs down and force medical billers to be on top of their game.