Medical Billing Help
Medical Billing Frequently Asked Questions:
1. Can I negotiate my medical bill?
There are a few things you may be able to do in order to negotiate down the cost of your medical bills. Firstly, it is very important that you contact your doctor or hospital’s billing office before the bill becomes past due. Once a bill is past due, it is very unlikely that you will be able to do anything to bring down the cost of the bill and make payment arrangements.
Even if you do not have all of the money to pay your bill, call and tell the billing office that. If you are able to pay your bill in cash, offer a one time cash lump sum for your bill. Many offices will give patients a big discount on their bill if they can make one cash payment. You may also see if the office is willing to bring down the price of the bill at all. Even if they cannot reduce your bill, they can likely point you toward resources like financing or grant programs that may subsidize part of your balance.
2. How do I make sense of the medical coding on my bill?
Medical codes can seem complicated to individuals who are not in the healthcare industry, but these codes are uniform and you should have the necessary resources available to ensure that you fully understand the codes on your bill. It is important that if there are any codes on your bill that are unclear to, you should make sure you research what they mean before settling your bill.
Often your bill will be formatted in a way that the code is written out next to the description of the service it provides. If this is not the case, however, you may call your doctor’s office and ask for an explanation or visit the AMA website, which allows you to look up the meaning of up to 5 codes at a time.
3. How does health care reform affect my medical bills?
One of the primary goals set forth by the Affordable Care Act is to make sure that all patients have the resources they need to ensure that they can afford health insurance and that hospitals and doctor’s offices make all necessary efforts to ensure that patients have access to programs and resources that will allow them pay their bills.
This means that if you express to your hospital’s billing office that your bill may be unmanageable to you, they must refer you to grant programs or other funding options, or work with you to establish a payment plan that you will realistically be able to maintain.
4. Why is the insurance company refusing to pay my bill?
It is possible that your insurance company is refusing to pay your bill because a treatment or procedure that you received is not covered under the terms of your explanation of benefits. Sometimes, one procedure is covered by your policy, but a very similar one is not.
When possible, it is very important that you confirm coverage with your insurance company before undergoing any type of procedure. If you believe that your insurance company is failing to pay for a service that should be covered, you should talk to your state’s insurance board about filing and appeal.
5. What should I do if I believe a hospital has overcharged me?
If you believe that a hospital has overcharged you, make sure you address the problem before the bill is due. You may need to make at least a minimum payment to the hospital so that your payment does not become past due. You should assess and identify in what way you have been overcharged.
Were you charged multiple times for the same service? Are there line items on your bill that are not reflective of your hospital stay? Take notes and be able to articulate your grievance to the hospital staff when you speak with them about the problem with your bill.
6. Can a medical billing agency reduce my bill for rehab?
A medical billing agency itself cannot reduce your bill. They are the agency that receives information from both your rehab facility and your insurance company and bills you accordingly. If your rehab bill is too high or you would like to try to have your bill reduced by paying cash, speak directly with your rehab facility. Also speak with your insurance company and make sure that they are paying the full amount of their financial obligation toward your treatment.
7. Are there any software programs that can help?
As many medical offices are shifting to primarily electronic medical records, patients have online access to their medical records and can see the same information that their doctors do. This can help quite a bit with billing because the more informed a patient is about the specifics of their case, the better equipped they are to recognize billing errors or understand the contents of their bill. Ask your doctor if there is a way for you to access your records online.
Medical Coding & Billing Companies: What Is Their Role?
1. How can a medical billing company help my business?
Any medical professional knows that maintaining a busy practices requires any and all resources available. With the adoption of the Affordable Care Act, many offices are experiencing an even higher patient volume than normal. As patient volumes are increasing, many offices are also working to ensure that they are prepared to transition into the new ICD-10 codes by the October 2014 deadline.
A medical billing company relieves the practice of the time and energy consuming process of delivering bills to patients and insurance providers and staying current on accounts receivable. This has a profound impact on a practice because it allows office staff and doctors to focus on the business occurring in the office itself and means that offices may take on a bigger patient load while delivering quality care to all patients.
2. How will the new ICD-10 billing codes affect my practice?
The new ICD-10 billing codes are notable because of the fact that they provide a much higher degree of specificity in coding. This means that you will be able to bill with much more precision. Generating bills that more accurately reflect a patient’s visit helps you avoid losing out on reimbursement because you did not have the adequate language to describe the procedures you performed.
This increased clarity in billing is also highly beneficial when it comes to communication with your patients. As patients receive bills that are an accurate reflection of their visit, they may better discuss billing questions with your office.
3. What should I look for when hiring someone to outsource billing?
Billing is a field that requires a high amount of attention to detail as well as delivery of important documents in a timely manner. Another important aspect of billing is customer service. The billing company that you outsource to will, in many ways, be a liaison between you and your patients. It is important to choose a company that employees individuals who are both friendly and patient, as this will have a huge impact on your patient’s experience with your office and the billing process in general.
Many patients may be calling the billing service confused or frustrated, so choosing a company that can effectively calm patients and bring them clarity is key. When choosing a company, you may want to consider which other doctors and hospitals the company does billing for. Do they work for a number of other practices? Do they work with practices that have needs similar to yours? Assessing these questions can help you make sure that you are working with a medical billing company that best suites your needs.
Working In The Medical Billing Field
1. What kind of jobs are available in the medical billing field?
With the adoption of the Affordable Care Act and the upcoming transition to the ICD-10 coding system, medical billing is one of the fastest growing job markets in the country. Medical billing is a secure job for which there is much demand, and there are a few different types of work available within the medical billing field.
One type of job available is a medical billing specialist. This is a person who oversees payments that are made by both insurance companies and patients. They often field questions from patients and keep track of the current status of a bill.
Another job that is available and in demand within the medical billing field is a coding specialist. A coding specialist analyzes medical records and makes sure that the codes on a bill matchup with the procedures and treatments that a patient has received. A coding specialist makes sure that the code on the bill correctly describes a patient’s billing.
Individuals who enjoy one on one interface with patients may seek a career as a patient’s account specialist. This person may work in-house at a doctor’s office or hospital and will consult with patients about their ability to pay their bill.
A patient account specialist assesses things like a patient’s employment and other sources of income, as well as their expenses, and surmises how much they can reasonably pay. In the event that a patient is unable to pay their bill, a patient account specialist refers them to options that can help keep their bills manageable, such as financing or applying for grants or other state programs. There are a number of jobs available within the medical billing and coding field, and all of them offer unique opportunities.
2. What qualifications do I need for a career in medical billing?
Individuals who thrive in the medical billing field tend to be detail oriented. It is very important that medical billing professionals be able to spot even small discrepancies in bills or codes. Depending on the type of billing or coding job you are seeking, strong customer service skills may also be fairly important. Patients contact medical billing experts when they have questions or grievances with their bill, so strong interpersonal skills can be a major asset if you are hoping to work as a billing analyst or as a patient representative.
3. What are some good places to find medical billing jobs?
The medical billing industry is rapidly growing, and there is certainly a need for individuals interested in seeking careers in coding or billing. There are a number of resources available to hard working and qualified individuals who are ready to find a fulfilling and stable job in the medical industry.
There are a number of online staffing resources, which may list job postings by area and type. Some of these staffing resources are more general staffing sites, like Monster.com, while other sites like Medicalbillingcareer.org offer listings of medical billing and coding specific positions.
These medical billing specific sites may be a particularly good resource for individuals seeking billing or coding jobs. If you took a course on billing or coding to help prepare for success in your career, the program through which you took the course may have resources like job listings available to their students.
You may want to ask your instructor or the administrator of the program whether they have any suggestions in terms of places to look for jobs. If you are interested in applying for an in-house position with a doctor’s office or hospital, you may want to call the hospital’s human resource department directly and inquire as to whether they have any positions open.
As the medical field continues to change and grow in new and exciting ways, there continue to be an increasing number of job opportunities. Medical billing and coding professionals are needed in a number of regions, and it is a job that is interesting and stable. A career in medical billing and coding can often mean a rewarding lifetime anchored by a fulfilling and well paying job. And of course check out our current career listings!