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Issue Date: March 2010

Best Doctors 2010: How To Decipher Your Medical Bill

Emily Garvey

Receiving your medical bill shouldn’t be more painful than dealing with your symptoms. Dr. Paul Lecat, an internal medicine and pediatric physician at Akron General Hospital, says it’s just a matter of knowing what to look for and when to ask questions.

Speak up. It’s important to double-check your bill, especially to make sure the date of service and charges listed are correct. And if you’re on a family insurance plan, make sure the patient is properly identified.

Ask for a translation. “When a physician sees a patient or when a service is provided at an office, a certain code is generated,” Lecat says. So if a code is listed on your bill and you are unsure of what it means, call your physician’s office for an explanation.

Be understanding. “Billing people are human too, and anyone can make a mistake,” Lecat says. “I can’t think of a single office that would deliberately pad a bill.”

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