Medical Bill Assistance


Medical Billing Advocates

Medical billing advocates work with you to resolve disputed expenses that show up on your medical bills. If you haven't worked with a medical bill advocate before and you have substantial medical bills, you should be alarmed.

Eighty Percent of Hospital Bills Contain Errors

Medical Billing Advocates of America reports that 80% of hospital bills contain errors. That means that the total owed is more likely to be wrong than right. You can bet that if there is an error, it is not in your favor.

What medical billing advocates do is compare your actual charges to usual and customary charges. They match up each line item from your bills to a list of customary charges for medical procedures and other items.

It is true that you can do much of this on your own. It just takes some research to determine what those charges should be so that you have a beginning point for a negotiation. Doing your own negotiation may be worth it if you simply pay a copay. Since your copay does not change, it will not necessarily change what comes out of your pocket. It could still be important though if you are concerned about maxing out your lifetime benefit and want to stretch out your benefits as long as possible.

If you pay a coinsurance (80/20 plan for example), then it could make a huge difference in what you have to pay. If your total bill is initially $15,000 and it is reduced to $12,000, then your portion just dropped from $3,000 to $2,400. That's a difference of $600! Imagine what a bigger drop could do for you.

If you choose to hire a medical billing advocate, there are differences in how they charge fees to you. Some may have an upfront fee. Others charge on a contingency basis, meaning that you only pay if they save you money. This can be a good way to go if you are on a tight budget. Fees can be as much as a third of the savings with some companies, while other medical billing advocates may charge as little as 15% of the difference.

If you choose to hire a medical billing advocate, make sure that you supply them with the necessary information so that they can do their job. They may ask you for a release so that they can contact the hospital and physicians and obtain itemized lists. This release also gives them permission to represent you in negotiations with the billing department. The most important aspect of hiring one of these companies is that you check their reputation.

The Better Business Bureau is a great place to start to check the reputations of any company. Medical Billing Advocates of America is another source to check. They are a trade assocation that represents companies that work to control health care costs and keep your bills honest. Whether you hire someone or do it yourself, it is time for you to take control of your medical bills!