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Tip 2. Make sure you understand your bill

Tip 2. Make sure you understand your bill

You may get two or three statements before your real bill arrives.

There are many reasons why medical bills are confusing. First, you may receive several bills from different providers for one medical visit. This means you’ll have one from the doctor, one from the hospital, one from the laboratory, one from the anesthesiologist – you get the picture. In addition, you may receive a few letters or statements from the hospital before you get the actual bill.

Typically, hospitals will send a statement that includes the total charges, the estimated insurance payment, and your Estimated Payment Responsibility. This statement arrives shortly after you receive treatment.  This is NOT a bill.  It is the hospital’s best estimate of how much they think you will owe, based on what they believe the insurance company will pay.

Shortly after the hospital sends its Estimated Payment Responsibility, your insurance company will send an Explanation of Benefits (EOB).  Again, this is NOT a bill.  It is the insurance company’s explanation of how much THEY paid to the hospital.  Only after the EOB goes out will you receive the actual bill from the hospital.

It is important to read all correspondence from your hospital carefully.   You may receive two or three statements before your real bill arrives. This final bill will state how much the insurance company paid and how much you are responsible for repaying.  If you are ever confused about what you owe or how to read the bill, call your medical provider’s office and ask for help. If you need help determining how you can pay the bill or fit monthly payments into your budget, call a certified credit counselor at American Financial Solutions.

Published Oct 6, 2011.