The Norman Transcript

Features

June 12, 2012

How seniors can challenge their medical bills

NORMAN — Dear Savvy Senior, I need some help understanding my medical bills from my knee replacement surgery earlier this year. My wife and I live on a pretty tight budget so I like to keep track of our costs as closely as possible. But the bills I’ve received are vague and confusing, and we think we’re being overcharged. What can you tell us?

Trying To Recover

 

Dear Trying,

Errors and overcharging have become so commonplace on medical bills today that double-checking them is a very smart move that may save you some money. Here are some tips and tools that can help.    

 

Challenge your bills

According to the Medical Billing Advocates of America, nine out of 10 hospital bills have errors on them, most of which are in the hospital’s favor. Bills from doctor’s offices and labs have mistakes too, but they tend to be fewer and further apart. 

To help you get a handle on your medical bills and check for costly errors, the first thing you need to do is request an itemized statement from the hospital or health care providers detailing the charges of the procedures, supplies, tests and services they provided you. They are legally required to provide you with this information. 

If the statement contains confusing billing codes or abbreviations that you don’t understand, call the billing office for an explanation. You also can look up most medical billing codes online by going to any online search engine and typing in “CPT” followed by the code number.

Once you receive and decode the statement, review it carefully and keep your eyes peeled for these mistakes:  

· Double billing: Being charged twice for the same services, drugs, or supplies.

· Typos: Incorrect billing codes or dollar amounts.

· Canceled work: Charging for a test your doctor ordered, then canceled.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Features
  • Parents should work on themselves first

    I absolutely love it when people begin to realize that the problems they’re having with a child are of their own making; when they begin to realize, in other words, that the child is not the problem — they are. All this time (however long ...

    July 25, 2014

  • Helping cat with first veterinarian visit

    Dear Dr. Fox: A stray kitty adopted me a couple months ago and has since been tamed enough that I have found a vet to neuter him and do some much-needed dental work. My fear is that the poor boy will be so traumatized by this ordeal that ...

    July 24, 2014

  • Veterans Corner needs volunteer to drive residents to OKC VA

    Veterans Corner volunteer of the week David Sudduth has been with us for the last eight years. He is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force who served during the Vietnam War. David and his wife, Carolyn, have had their home in the Newalla area ...

    July 23, 2014

  • Low-cost and free cell phone options for thrifty seniors

    Dear Savvy Senior, What are the cheapest cell phone options available today to seniors living on a shoestring budget? I only need it for occasional calls. — Seldom Calling Senior Dear Seldom, For financially challenged seniors who only ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Harrah residents at home in restored vintage camper

    Sulphur — David Wiegert was quick to help a couple of newbie campers at the Buckhorn Campground on Arbuckle Lake in the Chickasaw National Recreation Area. What Dave offered was badly needed advice on setting up travel trailers, where to ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Historic quilt from Noble on auction block

    An alert quilter and teacher is concerned about a vintage quilt from Noble that’s being auctioned on eBay....

    July 20, 2014

  • Bark for Life brings pets into fundraising

    Local American Cancer Society member and Norman Regional nurse is at it again, raising awareness for cancer patients with an event that gets people moving. “Bark for Life” is a noncompetitive walk that will be from 8 to 10 a.m. Saturday ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Deadline for entering United Way’s The Ride extended

    Kids ages 3 to 8 are getting ready to roll on their decked out big wheel tricycles in an effort to raise money for the United Way of Norman. The Ride, a big wheel race organized by First American Bank and other local businesses, is ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Fundraiser set

    The Apple Gold Group, a franchisee of Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill and Bar, will host a flapjack fundraiser July 26 at Applebee’s, 500 Ed Noble Parkway in Norman....

    July 20, 2014

  • Sculpture brings tornado-torn community together

    After the May 20 tornado tore through Moore in 2013, hundreds of families were left to pick up the pieces. And it was in these old, shattered pieces of people’s homes and scattered debris that two local artists found something new....

    July 20, 2014