Medically reviewed by: Dr. Robert Segal, M.D.
You got an MRI and a CT scan for your sprained ankle a few months ago. (You fell during your run, remember?) Now you’ve just received a hefty bill in the mail that said your health insurance claim has been denied. And you’re in panic mode because one, it’s written in a language that you can’t even begin to comprehend, and two, your MRI and CT scan should have been covered by your health insurance… right?
The good news for you is that it’s estimated that 80% of medical bills have errors and you’re entitled to a full explanation about why your claim bounced back. So you might still be able to navigate your way out of being stuck with a hefty bill. You just have to mentally prepare yourself for the long journey ahead.
Common billing errors happen for a number of reasons, such as being billed for canceled appointments or repeated bills on the same medical care. Frequently, the hospital billing staff produce bills based on what is written from doctors’ notes with minimal communication with the doctors themselves. And with so many patients and not enough time, doctors are unable to write detailed documentation of what occurred during each patient’s visits, let alone make time to talk face to face with billing staff, which is a major setback in getting patients the correct type of medical bill.
You’ve been referred back and forth from your doctor to the radiology center to your health insurance company, and you’ve been on hold so many times, it’s quite possibly you may have just lost an entire week of your life. But you’ve finally figured out what went wrong: The hospital billing staff sent your medical bill to your old health insurance plan which no longer covers you. They’ve promised to fix it soon and send you the correct bill. (By soon, they really mean weeks).
You were patient enough to go through the process to fix your medical bill. But most patients go on without looking at their bill twice. Most trust that errors weren’t made or give up because the process to correct mistakes was too complicated.
Wouldn’t it be nice if the process to correct these errors wasn’t like navigating a maze? Or even better, if there weren’t any errors to begin with?
Those changes may take a while to actually happen for the entire health system. And for now, no one has time to completely memorize what their health insurance covers, or become a doctor, just to understand their medical bill. You could go to a professional — a medical billing advocate — for help, but you have to pay them, and some don’t come cheap.
To minimize (or eliminate) the chances of your health insurance being denied, your best option is to start by searching for in-network labs and radiology centers the next time you need a test completed. This way you’re completely sure that your health insurance will cover your test. You’ll also be aware of any out of pocket costs beforehand. And you can forget about that translator you were going to hire if you can get a simple, understandable medical bill to start with. Now if only there was something or someone to help you do all of that.
There is! It’s called Labfinder.
You’re already spending thousands of dollars on health insurance. Why not use it to its full extent? Labfinder wants you to spend as little out-of-pocket expenses as possible. Our algorithms show only in-network labs and radiology centers closest to you. And don’t worry if you don’t have health insurance, or if you’re just dying to find out how much an MRI costs, you can see the full costs of your test before you decide to book an appointment. This also means you’ll know exactly what to expect when your medical bill comes in. When you’re looking for care, you shouldn’t have to pay more than you have to nor should you have to look up guides on how to read your medical bill.
LabFinder is a no-cost, online platform for people to easily schedule their medical tests and view results securely. The LabFinder team is passionate about improving the ‘patient and doctor experience’ through better communication, reduce out-of-pocket expenses and making everyone know more about their own medical tests. The mission of LabFinder is simple: we want to be solution to you and get you the test results you deserve so you can make right choices about your health.
Written by: LabFinder Team / Approved by: Dr. Robert Segal, M.D.