By Amanda Buchanan
High hospital costs seem to be a fact of life that most Americans have reluctantly come to accept. What most people don't realize, however, is that not all of those charges are legit -- and in fact, many medical bills contain fraudulent charges.
In 2010 alone, Medicare and Medicaid paid an estimated $70 billion in improper hospital payments, according to a 2011 Government Accountability Office study. But it's not just nameless, faceless bureaucratic entities getting hit up for costs they shouldn't have to pay.
Brett Goldstein, author of The Retirement Crisis, started questioning his hospital bills after his daughter underwent a minor procedure that left him with unreasonably high bills. After digging into it, he realized he was being cheated in more ways than one.
Goldstein's experience can be used to help others make sure they're not being overcharged for medical care. Here are red flags to watch for the next time you get billed:
Amanda Buchanan is a contributing writer for The Motley Fool.