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How billing errors increase medical debt

When many Tennessee patients receive a bill from their doctor, they likely pay it without examining it too closely. If the funds are not immediately available, the bill may end up going on a credit card and driving a patient into debt. However, NBC News reports that medical billing errors may occur at a rate as high as 80 percent. Therefore, consumers would be wise to review their bills before submitting any payments.

One type of common billing mistake is due to coding errors, where the provider enters the wrong code for the services performed. This could result in the patient being billed the incorrect amount. Other times, additional charges are included on the bill for services the patient never received. It is also possible that the doctor's office sent the bill out to the patient before payment was received form the patient's insurance company and the patient may not actually owe the full amount on the bill.

According to NerdWallet, other common errors include:

  • Being billed for the wrong amount of medication
  • Being charged for the balance of a bill when services were rendered by an in-network provider
  • Incorrect information being entered into the system, such as the wrong insurance ID number
  • Being charged for a service that was cancelled.

Finally, patients should be on the lookout for duplicative charges. Being billed twice for the same procedure can drive a bill up substantially. By requesting an itemized bill, many of these errors can be spotted and potentially save patients from incurring debt for amounts they do not owe.

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