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Are medical bill advocates a good option?

We're looking at having a medical bill advocate review our medical bills for errors...our bills don't seem accurate. Have you guys ever used this service? We came across dispute bills via google.
Status: Open    May 23, 2016 - 01:43 PM

Finance, Caregiving

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Expert Answers

Jun 01, 2016 - 06:27 PM

I have personally never used this service, but do think it could be a good idea depending on your situation. But first, consider these questions: Why do you feel like you are being overcharged? What were you expecting to pay? How do your bills from last year or the year before compare to this year? Has there been a recent hospitalization? Did you start a new costly medication? Are you seeing any type of new provider (i.e. specialist, physicial therapist). Answering these questions may help you pinpoint why your bills seem high.

I am assuming you have Medicare, and I would also go to You will find a lot of information on what Medicare does and doesn't cover. Perhaps you have a doctor that is now out-of-network for Medicare or stopped taking Medicare all together. You should be able to search the Medicare database to find out if your doctors are all in-network.

Before contacting an advocate, my number one recommendation is to look over your Explanation of Benefits (often referred to as EOB's). These usually come in the mail, but are also available in your account on your insurance carrier's website, or by calling them directly. There is an EOB for every single doctors appointment you have had, every day you have spent in the hospital, every emergency room visit, and every time you fiill a medication. The EOB shows how much the doctor charges for the appointment, what Medicare will pay, the actual amount Medicare did pay for the services, and what your portion is. By adding your portion from each EOB, you will come up with your out-of-pocket medical costs. If this number is signifcantly different than what you have actually paid, then there is a problem. Although going through each EOB is a tedious process, this is probably where an advocate will start looking because you can find that you've been double billed for a service or had a service performed that was not covered by Medicare and you weren't told about before hand. By going through your EOBs yourself you can save yourself the money it would cost to pay an advocate to do it. However, if you don't feel comfortable confronting the doctor's office/hospital then I would defintely hire a medical bills advocate. Furthermore, if the whole process of figuring this out is extrememly overwhelming I would have an advocate do this for you. I am not familiar with how much they charge, but sometimes you can't put a price on peace of mind.
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