Four in five U.S. medical bills contain at least minor mistakes — costing the nation $68 billion annually in unnecessary healthcare spending by doctors and patients alike.
That’s the key finding of a new analysis by MHS (Medliminal Healthcare Solutions), an organization that helps patients find and fix medical billing errors.
MHS CEO Jim Napoli says such mistakes have become the rule and not the exception for American consumers, for a variety of reasons.
“For years we had found that approximately eight in 10 hospital bills we receive contain numerous overcharges,” Napoli says, “but now that figure is closer to nine in 10.”
What’s behind most errors: Healthcare industry standards are changing and physicians, and their office staffers, often lack necessary training in new medical coding. That means many don’t classify a patient's diagnosis into medical numeric codes that are required for doctor’s offices to seek insurance of government reimbursement for services.
In addition, some healthcare providers inflate costs for products and services, or engage in what’s called “cost shifting” — charging paying or insured Americans more to balance out coverage for uninsured or poor patients who can’t pay for the services they receive..