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Effective Strategies for Navigating Hospital Bills

Effective Strategies for Navigating Hospital Bills

December 18, 2023

Hospital bills can be scary and overwhelming. If you owe medical debt, you're not alone. Studies show that 1 in 10 Americans owe medical debt.1 Let’s explore how to navigate often intimidating hospital bills and how to advocate for yourself.

Tips for Navigating Hospital Bills and Advocating for Yourself | Money

Hospital bills can strain your finances and potentially affect your future plans. One study found that 23 million U.S. adults had outstanding medical debts over $250, while 16 million owed over $1,000. Additionally, nearly 2/3 of patients reported delaying or neglecting care because they were worried about the costs. These tips can help you decipher your next hospital bill and potentially save money.2

1) Ask For an Itemized Bill

Requesting a line-by-line breakdown of what you owe can potentially uncover billing errors. Look for things like overpriced or inaccurate services and incorrect service dates.

2) Research the Codes and Costs

The codes and corresponding prices on your bill can be confusing. Typically, you'll either see International Classification of Diseases (ICD) or Current Procedure Terminology (CPT) codes.
While CPT codes relate to the medical service or procedure, ICD codes are used by physicians to communicate diseases, symptoms and abnormal findings related to a patient's diagnosis. Try to confirm that the codes used on your bill are accurate.

3) Negotiate or Ask for a Discount

Have you received a medical bill that you can't afford? It may be possible to reduce the amount you owe. Here's how:

  • See if you're eligible for charity care. To do this, research financial assistance options at your hospital.
  • Ask if it's possible to lower your bill by paying upfront.
  • Try to negotiate the amount, which may include asking for an itemized breakdown. A payment plan can also ease your financial burden. Many plans also have lower interest rates than credit cards.
  • Contact the billing office to see if they are willing to negotiate your bill or offer a discount for paying in cash. Even if the answer is no, they may be able to set you up with a payment plan.

Don’t let unexpected medical bills cut into your budget. Let's talk about effective strategies for managing healthcare expenses. Contact our office to schedule a meeting.

1) "1 in 10 Adults Owe Medical Debt, With Millions Owing More Than $10,000." KFF, 10 March 2022, https://www.kff.org/health-costs/press-release/1-in-10-adults-owe-medical-debt-with-millions-owing-more-than-10000/.  
2) Hansen, Sarah. "Hospital Bills Are Confusing and Expensive. Here’s How to Advocate for Yourself." Money, 9 November 2022, https://money.com/hospital-bills-advocate-tips/.

This material was developed and prepared by a third party for use by your Registered Representative. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. The content is developed from sourcesbelieved to be providing accurate information.