Are hospitals required to provide an itemized list of charges with a bill?


I keep getting hospital bills from mom's four stays last year. the thing is, none of these bills explain what the charges are for. They just list a total and what Medicare and her insurance didn't pay from that total. How do I know how the total was calculated if there's no itemized list of charges? Seems rather unfair to me. I mean you wouldn't accept a bill from say, your mechanic that just said "pay me $1400" without listing what he's billing you for, no?

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It's really annoying, that's for sure. Her first hospital visit consisted of a room, a x-ray and a few Tylenols, then I get bills asking for $65, $250 and no explanation at all.

Or the ambulance transports. She needed four ambulance to rehab, rehab to hospital, hospital back to rehab and rehab to home. She can't sit up with her knees bent for any length of time so a stretcher was the only solution. I assumed the bills were covered if medically necessary, yet she was billed for all four trips, outrageous rates too. The longest trip was seven miles and they're demanding over $500 for that one.
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We've contacted the hospital administrator if necessary to get itemized billing statements. The billing department would be the first choice, but if you get flack from them, go higher.

I'd have to do some research to state for certain but as I recall from years ago, you are entitled to a detailed breakdown of the charges.

As FF notes, some of the charges will be shocking. Make sure you're seated when you look over the bill.

E.g., $14 for a tube of chapstick, $4 for an get the picture. When I challenged these costs at one of the hospitals, I was given a nonsensical answer to the effect that different departments add the costs on - similar to the value added economics concept. However, real "value added" includes some element of work or parts that increases the value of the original item. Cars are a good example. Shuffling from one department to another is not.

I used to joke about this with friends - receiving department gets the meds, charges a few dollars to handle them. Another department divides them up by dosage, charges another few dollars for that. Someone carries them to hospital floors - another few dollars. Someone puts them in a medicine room or wherever they're stored - another few dollars.
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You can ask for an itemized list from the hospital. I always found it interesting how much they can charge for an aspirin :P
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