I have heard this story many times:  You or a family member has just been discharged from the hospital and a few weeks later the bills start arriving.  Wanting to avoid any problems, you open the bill and simply pay it.  Or, feeling overwhelmed and still healing, you set it aside and plan to deal with it later.  Later becomes a month and the bills are piling up.   So what should you do?

RN Patient Advocate Winston Salem, NCMaking sure your bills are correct begins while you are in the hospital.  Keep notes of everything done and everyone who sees you.  Ask for a completely itemized statement and compare this to your notes.

And look for these: Duplicate charges, upcharges and bundled items

Beware of shampoo, soap, toothbrushes, kits, trays, toilet paper and light bulbs

Be sure the doctors have ordered it!  You cannot be charged for something not ordered in writing by your doctor.

So, what are the chances your bills are incorrect?  Pretty high.  It is estimated that 80-90% of bills are incorrect.  A typical hospital bill for a 3 day stay is created by between 250 and 300 people.  It is easy to see how at least one person can make an error, even more than one.

And the importance of paying the bills has increased.  Hospital and medical bills are being sent to collections faster than ever, many after 30 days.  Medical bills account for 50% of all collections in the US.  In 2010, 30 Million Americans were sent to collections over unpaid medical bills.  Communications with the hospital is most important to prevent being sent to collections.

As always, ask your independent RN Patient Advocate for help when, or before you need it.

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