5 things your don't know about medical bills

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Medical Bills

What you don’t know about medical bills can cost you both in terms of money and frustration. There can be some unpleasant side effects from your medical care if you’re not aware of these billing pitfalls. Yes, of course, your medical providers deserve to be paid fairly. However, I don’t want you to overpay your medical bills because of confusion or lack of knowledge.

Here are 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Medical Bills

#1 – You shouldn’t pay a dime beyond your co-pay at the time of service.

If you have insurance, you shouldn’t pay anything at the time of your medical service, other than your co-pay. You want to wait until you receive your “Explanation of Benefits” (EOB) from your insurance company. Why? The EOB will show the detail of what the medical provider charged, what the insurance paid on your behalf, and most importantly, your financial responsibility. When you receive a bill from the medical provider, you want to ensure that the amount they are charging you matches the “your responsibility” on your EOB from the insurance company.

#2 – Medical bills have an interest rate of 0%, so don’t put them on your credit card.

The only exception to this is if you want the rewards points AND plan on paying your credit card bill in full at the end of the month. Don’t let the medical facility pressure you into paying your bill with a credit card. If you can’t pay the bill in full within 30 days, send them a partial payment. Most hospitals and doctors’ offices are agreeable to setting up a payment plan for you. Just make sure you pay them something each and every month. If you go several months without paying anything towards your outstanding bill, there’s a chance your provider will send the bill to a collection agency. {This is one of the Top 10 Money Mistakes You Might Be Making.}

#3 – You might be eligible for an income-based reduction of your bill.

 Depending on your income, you might be eligible for a reduction of your medical bill. When my mother-in-law received treatment for her bladder cancer, her income consisted of social security and a very small teacher’s pension. Because of this, the hospital reduced many of her treatment bills by 90% or more. Almost every major medical facility has a financial aid department. The staff will help you determine if you qualify for this assistance. It never hurts to ask!

#4 – Your medical bills are NOT a part of your credit report or credit score. Unless…

You fail to make timely payments and they’re turned over to a collection agency. (This is why it’s SO important to pay something on each of your medical bills monthly.) Experian and the other credit reporting agencies don’t even show these medical bills on your credit report until they are 180 days or more past due.

#5 – The vast majority of hospital bills contain one or more errors.

The stats vary from 30% to 80% of hospital bills containing at least one error. These errors can range from a hospital employee typing in the wrong billing code to including services, medications, or medical devices you never received. It’s important that you ask for a detailed statement for your hospital stay and ensure it’s correct. You want to make sure that you and your insurance company are not billed for something you didn’t get. And incorrect billing codes could cause your insurance company to deny payment on something they should be covering. Address issues as soon as you find them so these medical bills are fixed promptly.

How financially healthy are you? Take the 2 minute quiz and find out!