When Mr. Jones was looking for a minor foot injury for his daughter, he was astonished with the disparity in surgery costs at different hospitals. At the first institution, he was quoted a price of $10,000. Considering the high cost of surgery, he started looking around at different medical facilities. Within a week, he found a hospital that promised to do the surgery in $1,500- nearly one-sixth of the original quote!
According to a survey conducted by NerdWallet Health, medical bills are one of the primary reasons behind bankruptcy and one in five Americans struggles to pay their medical bills. It might come as a surprise to every average American that they can negotiate their medical bills. Further, there are several cases where the customers do not receive complete coverage for the treatment. The statistics indicate that the customers trying to negotiate a medical bill receive discount on their medical services. Medical institutions are always involved in negotiating surgery cost with insurance companies. So, why don’t you?
How to negotiate your medical bill?
There are hardly ever a set cost for medical services and surgeries. However, you have to negotiate to get a fair price of your treatment. Let us find out some excellent tips to negotiate your medical bill.
Compare hospital charges
Most of the people prefer comparing the price of their car insurance or get multiple quotes while upgrading their garage door. Looking for the best medical services at a reasonable price is quite similar to your car insurance comparison. Several on-line websites allow you to compare the cost of a medical service such as New Choice health. Choose a hospital with reasonable prices and a good reputation. You can negotiate prices before the surgery.
Check your health cover
The average practice is to write check for a medical treatment without even checking the bill statement. Every patient must scrutinize the bill and find out the payment made by the insurance companies. If you feel that the insurer has wronged you, file a complaint with the regular procedure. However, you might have to consider reaching out to the higher authorities to get a settlement. Every state offers help in such matters through health care advocate office and state insurance department.
Negotiate before the treatment
A professional approach is best for negotiating your bills upfront. Set an appointment with the billing professional or management. Start by asking the prices for specific procedures such as charges for radiology or fee for an anaesthesiologist visit. The billing professional might not be ready to disclose these prices, but be persistent. Once you have all the prices, it is time to ask for discounts. On an average, you can get a discount of up to 40 percent on most of the medical treatments. Hospitals might even offer discount for patients with existing bills. Most of the people are unaware of the fact that hospitals have different rates for the same surgery and it varies according to the insurer.
Get an Itemized bill
Hospitals use a particular set of codes to prepare medical bills and there are discrepancies most of the times. It is best to get an itemized bill for the procedure, so that you can negotiate the prices with the hospital. Further, it will rule out any coding mistakes or additional service charges. There are several complaints that list services that might be ordered but not administered.
Arrange a payment plan
Every hospital prefers to set-up a payment plan with the patient. Hospitals often find it difficult and time consuming to collect bills from collection agencies. You should try to set-up a payment plan upfront. Here are some tips to choose a payment plan:
- Choose a time frame for making the payment (6 or 9 months)
- Ask your bank for a personal loan for paying your medical bill. There are chances that you might get a lower interest rate than charging your credit card.
- Choose an amount that you can pay monthly and never miss on your payments
- Get receipts for every monthly instalment.