Check your hospital bill before you pay. There could be a mistake

John Gregory Image
Wednesday, September 27, 2023
Check your hospital bill before you pay. There could be a mistake
Check your hospital bill before you pay. There could be a mistake

The bill after a hospital visit can be a bitter pill to swallow. Even with insurance, you're still likely to cough up thousands of dollars.

Patient advocate Melissa Mullamphy said you can cut out unnecessary charges. One of the most important things you can do is to get an itemized list -- and check it twice.

"There is an 80 percent mistake ratio on bills," Mullamphy explained. "So, if you get the CPT codes and you Google them and you find that perhaps it's a code that didn't get done or a service you didn't get done, or say $200 for an Advil, there's ways that you can discuss with the hospital."

That shocking statistic comes from health care magazine Becker's Hospital Review. In 2016, they found 80 percent of American medical bills had some error in them, costing patients billions of dollars.

After checking for errors, if you have insurance, make sure your company is being billed correctly -- and the company is paying their share.

If the bill is right and you're still struggling to pay, you have some options:

  1. Find out if you qualify for the hospital's charity care program.
  2. You can see if you're eligible for Medicaid, or another low-income plan.
  3. You can try to negotiate the bill, especially if you're uninsured. Tell the billing department you can't afford to pay and ask for a discount.
  4. You can ask for the settlement amount. If you can pay that day, the hospital may be able to lower your bill by up to 50 percent.
  5. If you can't, ask for a payment plan. It'll be cheaper than your credit card or a personal loan.

Join us every weekday morning on Eyewitness News at 5 a.m. for our new segment, ABC7 On Your Side. John Gregory has you covered on money-saving tips, including tricks to save on your bills, smart negotiating tactics, plus where you can score free stuff!