Ask First

Questions to ask before paying any medical bill

Medical costs can derail even the best laid financial plans. Consider this: The average cost of a three-day stay in a hospital is $30,000. Break a leg? That’ll run you about $7,500. Paying for cancer treatment can cost hundreds of thousands. With medical costs so high, it’s important to examine every bill carefully. Here are some questions to ask before paying a medical expense.

Would Itemized Be Better?

It can be helpful to have an itemized bill. This is especially true when it comes to a hospital visit or a medical bill from a complex procedure. Sometimes medical bills can contain intentionally vague language. Don’t pay for things you don’t understand. Call the provider and ask them to explain anything you find confusing.

Do The Dates Check Out?

When reviewing a bill, make sure the dates and providers are correct. As US News reports, this tactic is important when you’ve been seeing specialists. The bill could list you as seeing the specialist on a day when you actually did not.

Did My Insurance Get Billed Correctly?

Everyone makes mistakes. Keep that in mind if you received a medical bill that seems quite high. It could be an insurance billing mistake. Call your provider and double check that your insurance was billed correctly.

Can I Negotiate This?

Just because you were billed a certain amount doesn’t mean you’ll have to ultimately pay it. Call the provider and ask about discounts or payment plans. Many times they’ll be happy to make a deal with you. Just remember to get any changes in your payment documented.

Chris O'Shea

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