If you aren't scrutinizing your medical bills, you probably should. Some estimates report that as many as 75 to 80 percent of all medical bills have some sort of mistake.

(Hynci, ThinkStock)

The American Medical Association puts the error rate at about 75 percent. But Medical Billing Advocates of America CEO and founder Pat Palmer says they find errors on three out of four medical bills they review.

"We are seeing a lot of the error types escalating, especially in the hospital area. We have such a complex billing system, that it leaves so much room for errors to occur on medical bills, and that is what we are seeing."

And the bad news might seem to be getting worse. Palmer says they are not seeing any improvement through their organization.

"Most every bill that comes through our office, when we analyze it, there is some type of error that has occurred, and it is usually not in favor of the patient."

Palmer advises health care consumers to request a detailed, rather than a summary bill, and scrutinize it carefully because people are getting charged for items they never received and services that were never performed.

"Most every bill that comes through our office, when we analyze it, there is some type of error that has occurred, and it is usually not in favor of the patient."

And there are other things that you are not going to be aware of. Palmer advises that if you have an item that you are not sure what it is, call the billing department. And if they are clueless, she suggests that patients call a nursing station.

"What is a cough support device?" They are going to tell you, "well, that is that little Teddy Bear that you got to hold on your chest when you cough to ease your pain." The service department, or billing department is not going to be able to tell you that, according to Palmer.

Her advice is: "Anything that you doubt, question. And then send in any items that you are disputing in writing to the facility, and they are required to answer you, with documentation to support those charges."

Palmer also advises you to always negotiate the pricing that you are left with, even though you are attempting to get the bill to a true and accurate charge.

"A lot of hospitals will give discounts if you pay promptly." She also says if you are uninsured, they may give you 35 percent off on the bills.

Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5