Why do doctors/hospitals send out...

United States
July 24, 2008 10:52am CST
fake bills? Okay, so they're not fake, but they show how much your procedures cost and how much you'll owe if the insurance company doesn't pay. Every time I get one of these, I end up freaking out and then find the 'this is not a bill' statement. Why do they even send these out?? I'm sure some people want to know the total cost of everything they've had done and be prepared for the worst that could happen -- their insurance company not coughing up the money -- but I'd much rather wait until the bill has gone through the insurance company! I make sure that all of my procedures are preapproved through my insurance company, so that I don't have any surprises and practically have a panic attack and start my war cry every time I get one of these notices. What's your opinion? Have you received these 'total balance' notices before? Have you ever gotten very worried thinking that you have to pay the entire thing when you really didn't? Do you think billing offices should wait to send these out, or do you want to know the worst-possible scenario?
3 responses
• United States
24 Jul 08
Although I hate that shock ($8.50 for a band-aid), I do review the bills. Every time, I find several items that don't belong on my bill, which makes me and the insurance company feel better. Last time, there were almost $2,000 in bills that could not have been mine -- some have been for things I'm highly allergic to, and some for meds I can't use, like the charges for prostate medicine that don't belong on any woman's bill. Once they charged me for an artficial leg, which I don't need. I'd like the two I have to be thinner, but they both work just fine!
• United States
24 Jul 08
Wow! That's amazing. I'm surprised they had the gall to try and sneak those 'extras' onto your bill! I've had doctors bill me for three or four of the same tests before, but never anything quite that exciting. Glad you don't need an artificial leg!
• United States
24 Jul 08
Thank you. I'd be surprised if you didn't find stupid errors on your medical bills, too.
@mamuzo (225)
• South Africa
25 Jul 08
Hi fluff!! We all know how insurance companies can be . . . I guess the doctors / hospital just want you to do your part in making sure they don't let you down. When you get these "statements you just have to follow up with your insurance company or just find out if they have paid the bill. It should not be anything to freak out about unless you do not know your benefits on that specific insurance cover. If it is any consolation, I too have received these before and YES I freaked out at first but I knew what my benefits were and so I queried the insurance company and they just assured that this was the procedure and that it helps to know what you are paying for and if your benefits were limited to a certain amount then you'd know which services to use from doctors/hospitals. That's all that there is to it . . .
• United States
26 Jul 08
Knowing your benefits isn't always a guarantee that your insurance company will cover things, though. There is the clearance through their medical department to determine if the procedure(s) were really emergency, necessary, etc. I get preapproval through my insurance company and each facility that I go to, but both parties tell you that it's not a guarantee that you won't have to pay more. So I disagree that thats all there is to it. I've had preapproval on things before, and still ended up paying more than I was told that I would have to. It's happened with four different insurance companies, so I know it's not just my current provider.
@momalisa65 (1817)
• United States
24 Jul 08
Yea, It does give you a shock, but I think it's good that they send those to you, because then you know they are not secretly charging your insurance for things you did not even have done. I heard of some doctors doing that to get extra money. So maybe the insurance companies are making them send those out.
• United States
24 Jul 08
I can see why they do it, but I'd prefer not to know once I've hit my deductible! I had a doctor that did that and the insurance company caught it and rejected it every time. The doctor's office would send me the bill for the three duplicate tests that I didn't have and I'd refuse to pay them. I guess they have to be extra careful.