Valdosta Daily Times

Business

September 29, 2013

Don’t let the emergency room bill give you a heart attack

Trust me, you don’t want to go back!

(Continued)

-- — 1. Have a medical bag handy

ABC’s Faris suggested that before an emergency strikes, have a prepared bag that contains your doctor records, allergies and current medications. The records are really important because it will allow the ER doctor to see what your physician has already tested you for, thus, allowing you to avoid unnecessary testing at an additional cost. Bringing your own medications (especially if you have pain medications) is important because then you are not paying 90 times more for something you already have. A tip from me, throw in a pregnancy test if you are a woman. Most

doctors give women pregnancy tests before they administer certain medications or tests, so why not pee on a $10 stick instead of a $300 one?

2. Document everything

Make sure you keep track of every test and every medication your doctor gives you. ERs can be hectic and most nurses and doctors are so over-worked, that they don’t have the time to explain everything to you like your regular doctor.

However, don’t let the hustle and bustle intimidate you. Ask the name of every test, every medicine, and every procedure. Keep note of it so when you get your bill, you can double-check that it is correct.

3. Always get an itemized bill

Do not ever pay a bill that is not itemized. An itemized bill breaks down every medicine, test, etc. If you don’t see that break down, there is no telling what you are paying for. Mistakes happen, and hospitals are a busy place run by humans who, believe it or not, do make mistakes. Also, even itemized bills are confusing, so don’t hesitate to call the hospital’s billing staff and have them go over your bill line-by-line. There is no such thing as too many questions.

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