Pushing Back on Medical Bills Yields Results: Survey

Most consumers don’t challenge medical bills they get from doctors and hospitals, according to the results of a recent poll. But of those who do challenge the bills, the majority of them are successful in getting the disputed charges removed or reduced.

Nearly two-thirds of consumers have never challenged the validity or accuracy of a bill received from a doctor, hospital, or insurance company. For those without insurance, the share of consumers who haven’t challenged a bill rises to 78%.

For companies in the accounts receivable management industry that work with consumers trying to collect healthcare debts, having them engage with the provider might help reduce the balance that is owed and make the debt more collectible.

Consumers with high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) were found to have the highest rates of negotiating their bills, which is not surprising given the large share that individuals with HDHPs are responsible for paying out of pocket.

The survey also found that over one-third of individuals who have challenged a medical bill reported that it took more than three months to resolve the issue. The survey results suggest that providers need to take a closer look at their revenue cycle department to prevent billing mistakes in the first place, and consumers need to be made aware that they can push back on a bill that is incorrect. The time and energy required for consumers to challenge an inaccurate medical bill can be significant, and the survey results emphasize the importance of hospitals and health systems focusing on streamlining inefficient, manual, and error-prone processes and workflows in the revenue cycle through automation technology to ensure work gets done accurately every time.

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