In 2009, CNN published a feature that was actually pretty startling. According to the feature nearly 60 percent of all bankruptcies that are filed within the United States are directly related to the medical bill debt that individuals have had. So, we’re pretty sure that you can see why finding ways to negotiate a better price on medical bills is such an important thing to know about.
That’s why we wanted to take a moment to provide you with a few tips on how you can get a better price when it comes to your medical costs. That way, you can stay healthy when it comes to your physical state and your finances too.
Ask about special programs. We’ve all heard the old saying that we don’t tend to get what we have not asked for. So, if you’re someone who happens to have a very limited amount of income, don’t hesitate to ask the billing department if they have special programs or payment arrangements for people in your financial predicament. If you are on Medicare, there are many doctors’ offices and hospitals that have a different set of rates for certain procedures or tests that you should ask about as well.
Inquire about the price up front. What tends to get many people into trouble is that they’ll agree to a procedure or test without asking how much it costs. When you are having a contractor come do some work at your home, you always get the price before he starts, right? By asking your doctor ahead of time it affords you the opportunity to know if you can get a discount for paying up front in cash or if there are generic kinds of medication that your physician can prescribe.
Read the fine print of your billing statement. Another thing that tends to cause some real challenges is if an individual simply assumes that their medical bill is right. It is imperative that you go down each listed item one by one to make sure there are no mistakes and two, to see if your insurance company paid their portion. Do keep in mind that if they didn’t and refuse to, sometimes you will have to file an appeal.
See about getting on a payment plan. There are very few people who can pay thousands of dollars at once and doctors and hospitals know this. So, if you have a really high bill, see about being placed on a payment plan. That’s a good way to pay what you can afford while avoiding an unpaid bill going on your credit report. If you’re having problems negotiating a plan, remember that there are state health care and insurance advocates available to assist you.
Treat others as you want to be treated. There’s another saying that applies really well to this final tip: You can certainly attract more bees with honey than with vinegar. Although going through the process of dealing with your medical bills can sometimes be frustrating (especially if you happen to notice any medical billing and coding errors), you’re not going to get very far by calling people and yelling at them. So, make sure that when it comes to the doctor’s office, hospital or insurance company that you are courteous, patient and polite. This, in turn, will make them more open to working with you and coming to a solution. Often, in your favor, too.