debt

Don't let bill errors empty your wallet

Insurance claim ... rejected
Insurance claim ... rejected © Filmfoto/Shutterstock.com

Although you may hear "rejected" and "denied" used interchangeably, the two terms are not the same, says Erin Moaratty, chief of mission delivery at the Patient Advocate Foundation in Hampton, Va. "Rejected" means that likely no one even considered your claim because of a mistake such as an incorrect date of birth, incorrect demographic information, no preferred provider ID, a mismatch between the treatment code and diagnosis code, or other issues, Moaratty says. "Rejected means it's not been processed," she says. "These claims go back to the provider, asking them to make justifications and send it forward."

But the provider may not pick up on or correct the error, and may instead send you the full bill, she says. Call your insurance provider to find out why the claim was rejected and follow up as needed with the medical office.

Takeaway: Match up your medical bills and your EOB. Don't pay a rejected claim until you follow up.

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