10 smart moves to save on health care

Scrutinize your itemized bill

Compare your itemized bill to your insurance company's explanation of benefits to make sure the provider is charging you its agreed rate under its contract with your insurer.

If they've overcharged you, submit the evidence to the provider and request an adjustment.

Look for charges you expected to be in-network that have been covered at the out-of-network rate or denied. Ask your insurer to explain anything you don’t understand. Appeal anything that seems incorrect.

Julie Sanchez, owner of St. Peters, Mo.-based RN Audit Specialist, which reviews patients’ medical bills for accuracy, says consumers should check for these common hospital billing errors:

  • Incorrect dates and times of service. Did the hospital claim you stayed longer than you did?
  • Medication dosages that seem too high.
  • Duplicate charges.
  • Services you didn’t receive.
  • Charges for equipment rental and basic supplies. Hospitals that accept Medicare reimbursement can't charge for this.

"If the patient has any questions, they should ask for a hospital bill audit to be done, just to verify everything is correct," Sanchez says. "Keep in mind that any undercharges will also be added to the bill."