5 Hidden Costs You’ll Encounter in Hospitals

a laptop on a desk

If you’ve ever had a stay in the hospital, you likely received a pretty confusing bill afterward. From high costs for room stays to fees that don’t seem to make any sense, it often seems like your bill has been inflated for no particular reason. A big part of this stems from the hidden fees that hospitals love to take advantage of. If you’re struggling to understand some of the hidden costs on your bill, here are a few you should know about.

The Booking Fee

This is one of the most common fees that patients tend to encounter. Booking fees, also sometimes called administration fees, are a method surgeons use to cheat arrangements not to charge a gap fee to patients. Many surgeons sign these contracts as a way to earn higher rebates from various health funds. In fact, these booking fees are illegal and unethical. If you spot a booking or administration fee on your bill, you should contest it as soon as possible.

Double Billing

If you’ve undergone a surgery that required multiple procedures, you may fall victim to the infamous double bill. Oftentimes when this happens, the patient ends up being billed twice, as if they’d undergone surgery two or more times. Also, if a physician enters your room, checks your chart, and then leaves, you may find yourself billed for their time, even if another doctor is overseeing you. On top of that, you can receive a bill from both nurses and doctors. Sound like a headache? That’s because it is.


Have you ever been to a mechanic and it seemed like their only goal was to swindle you out of your money? Similar things happen in hospitals. It’s assumed that most patients don’t reasonably know what they should or should not be paying for health services. Often, patients are billed at much higher rates than hospitals typically charge. Use a cost lookup tool to verify how much you should be paying for a given service in a hospital. Another common overcharge occurs when you’re charged for brand name medications when a generic alternative is available. It may be possible to argue that you shouldn’t be charged for a more expensive option when a cheaper alternative exists.

Time-Based Fees

Like hotels, hospitals like to charge you for the nights of your stay. However, they also like to charge you for the time spent in your room on the day of your discharge. If you think of that hotel comparison, have you ever had to pay extra for the day you were checking out? Your answer is likely a resounding “no.” Health insurance policies tend to frown upon this, so note the time charges on any bills you receive.

Rogue Fees

When it comes to the essentials like gloves, they should be included in the operation fees. If you find yourself charged for every little item you come across during your stay, you may want to reread your bill. Things like toothbrushes, combs, and other essential toiletries shouldn’t appear as line items on any of your billing statements. These should be included in the overall room costs.

It Starts With Your Policy

With all of the hidden fees running rampant in hospitals, navigating your bills can prove overwhelming. That’s why it’s important to take out a comprehensive health policy that gives you extra security if you require a hospital stay. Struggling to choose the right health policy for your needs? There are plenty of tools that can help. Compare health insurance options with iSelect. It makes it easier to determine what policies are most applicable for your specific health requirements and state of residence. Don’t let hospitals take advantage of hidden fees. Choose a policy that will keep you covered and fighting fit.

Featured Collection