3 Mistakes You Can Make with Medical Bills

Marketwatch says many consumers “take their medical bills at face value — and pay the price. You can limit the hurt by shopping around beforehand, double-checking bills and negotiating your out-of-pocket expenses.”

Here are three common mistakes:

1. Not shopping around

“Start by knowing the cost of services. For planned or routine medical expenses, you can ask the billing department to estimate costs. Then shop around if you have a choice of providers.”

2. Taking your bill at face value

“Medical bills usually have a single total at the bottom. What that doesn’t show are the items, big and small, you’ve been charged for. Request an itemized bill to check for duplications or charges for care you didn’t receive. Compare this with your explanation of benefits to verify your insurer paid what it should.”

3. Not negotiating payment options

“Negotiating has two parts. First, agree on what you’re going to pay. Then establish how you’ll pay it.”

“Knowing what others paid can give you leverage, so check the online resources mentioned above. Don’t be afraid to talk to your provider; just prepare by figuring out what you can realistically pay.”