Common Medical Billing Errors and How to Correct Them

Medical billing and coding is a complex and intricate process that requires meticulous attention to detail. But it is precisely due to these intricacies of the process, which depend on coverage and policies set by insurance companies, that billing errors often occur – even when one is being very careful. Unfortunately, even small mistakes or inaccuracies in billing can result in delayed payments or even claim denials.

The good news is that most medical billing errors tend to revolve around the same things, so they're easy to identify and correct. Below, we explore four common mistakes and give you practical suggestions on how to catch them quickly and correct them.

Incorrect Patient Information

Let's start with perhaps the most common error in medical billing: inaccurate or missing patient details. Misspelling a name, submitting an incorrect address, date of birth, or outdated insurance information – these are all very common mistakes that, at best, can lead to delays in payment and, at worst, to claim denials.

  • Double Check Everything: Make it a practice to double-check patient information before submitting a claim. Verify names, addresses, and insurance details for accuracy every single time. Yes, this will take a bit longer, but it's simple and can save you from many unnecessary complications.

Coding Errors

Using correct codes for diagnosis, medications, and procedures is crucial for accurate billing. And yet, coding mistakes are very common; what gives?

Well, firstly, it's easy to make the simple mistake of entering too many or too few digits for a code. Defining the exact services rendered by the doctor in digits is very critical. For example: In psychiatry medical billing, the psychiatrist is providing therapy instead of any diagnosis or procedure which makes it very difficult and tricky to bill for the exact services rendered by the doctor.Secondly, medical coding guidelines change frequently, so if you're not keeping up with the changes, you can easily end up using outdated codes.

  • Double-Check Every Digit: Again, it's best to take a moment to double-check everything, including the codes, and ensure they match the provided services. Remember that overlooking a single number can lead to billing discrepancies.
  • Stay Informed About Code Changes: Medical coding guidelines change constantly, so to avoid using outdated information, do your best to always be informed about the latest changes.

Failure to Verify Insurance Coverage

Verifying insurance coverage is an essential step in the billing process. Common errors in this aspect include outdated insurance information, incorrect policy details, or overlooking pre-authorization requirements.

  • Verify Insurance Information: Before any procedures or services, verify the patient's insurance information by making sure it’s up-to-date and that the provided services align with the policy coverage. Incorporating charge capture into this process ensures that all billable services are accurately recorded, minimizing the risk of overlooked charges and improving overall revenue.
  • Stay Ahead with Pre-authorization: Some health plans require prior authorization even if the procedure is absolutely necessary. To avoid claim denials, familiarize yourself with the pre-authorization requirements for various procedures and services and ensure they are completed in a timely manner.

Inadequate Documentation

In the age of electronic health records, the paper trail has certainly evolved, but unfortunately, documentation errors persist. Incomplete or inaccurate information (so, information that does not support the billed services) can trigger billing hiccups and even result in claim denials.

  • Thoroughly Review Patient Records: Before submitting any bills, review patient records meticulously. Ensure that all relevant information is accurate and that it leaves no room for interpretation.
  • Make Sure Documentation is Complete: Before you send healthcare claims, double-check that all the documents are there, including physical reports, consultation reports, and the patient's medical history.


Medical billing is a complex process, so errors are sometimes inevitable. However, if you take proactive measures, you can minimize them. By staying informed about the latest billing and coding changes and implementing robust verification processes, you can ensure accurate transactions every time and the best possible outcomes for both healthcare providers and patients.