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How to Read Your Doctors' Bills or Other Medical Bills

There's a Wealth of Information on Your Medical Bills


Updated April 17, 2011

When you decide to take steps to control your health costs, knowing how to read your doctors bills and other medical bills will come in handy.

There are three pieces of paperwork you'll need to compare.

  1. The list of services performed. This is handed to you when you leave the doctor's office or testing site.

  2. The bill the doctor or health facility sends you. It is a list of the services from #1 above, and the charges for each service. That bill is addressed in this article.

  3. The explanation of benefits -- EOB -- that comes from your payer (insurer, Medicare or other payer).

Among the three pieces of paper, you'll find terminology and codes that will help you be sure you are being billed only for the services that were performed.

We'll begin by looking at a basic medical bill, one you might receive from your doctor or another provider.

Images 1-5 of 5
A look at a basic medical bill.All Medical Bills Have the Same BasicsCheck the services provided on your doctor's bill.Step 2 - Find the List of Services on Your Medical BillThe CPT codes on your bill should be identical to the service listed.Step 3 - Double Check the CPT CodesYou'll get some clues about what the doctor is thinking.Step 4 - Checking the ICD Diagnostic Codes on Your Medical Bill
Pricing is also found on a medical bill, no matter who is responsible for paying it.Step 5 - How Much Did That Medical Service Cost?
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  6. Medical Bills -- How to Read Your Doctors' Bills or Medical Bills

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