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Two out of Three Patients Have Never Disputed a Medical Bill

Analysis  |  By Jay Asser  
   March 24, 2023

A survey reveals patients' experiences with challenging a bill with their physician, hospital, or insurance company.

Patients don't usually contend medical bills, but when they do their chances of getting charges removed or reduced are high, according to a YouGov survey commissioned by revenue cycle firm AKASA.

Over 2,000 Americans were polled between March 9-14, 2022, including 179 adults with employer-sponsored high-deductible health plans, to gauge patient experience with disputed medical bills.

Nearly two-thirds of respondents (64%) reported having never challenged the validity or accuracy of a bill with their physician, hospital, or health insurance company. That figure shot up to 78% for uninsured individuals, while those with high-deductible health plans (45%) and Medicare Advantage (43%) were more likely to contend bills.

"Despite all the negative experiences many patients have with getting surprise bills, we've been conditioned not to question or challenge medical bills we receive," said Amy Raymond, VP of revenue cycle operations at AKASA.

"While providers need to take a close look at their revenue cycle department to prevent those billing mistakes in the first place, we also need to drive awareness among consumers that they can indeed push back on a bill that is simply incorrect."

Of the respondents who had challenged a bill, 78% reported getting charges reduced or removed.

However, the time it took to resolve the disputed bill varied, sometimes taking longer than half a year. More than a quarter of respondents (27%) said it took one to three months, while 18% said it took three to six months and 16% said it took more than six months.

For providers and revenue cycle departments, ensuring the billing experience is as smooth as possible for patients can pay dividends.

According to a recent survey of 1,000 patients by RevSpring, 56% of respondents said they would likely switch providers if they had a poor billing experiencing, which was especially true for patients aged 18 to 26 (74%).

Patients value personalization and consistency, which means getting the bill right the first time.

Jay Asser is the contributing editor for strategy at HealthLeaders. 


AKASA commissioned a survey of 2,026 adults, including those with employer-sponsored high-deductible health plans, to learn how often patients challenge medical bills.

Almost two-thirds of respondents (64%) said they have never disputed the accuracy or validity of a bill, which was the case for 78% of uninsured individuals.

While 78% of respondents reported getting charges reduced or removed when they did contest a bill, it sometimes took more than six months for it to be resolved.

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