Are you scared of your medical bills? Don’t know what your medical procedure should cost? Medical Bills are essentially a monster in the closet for adults, and this monster certainly has some teeth. Those who do not, or cannot, pay their medical bills face bad credit and potentially bankruptcy. No one wants to go through that if they can help it, so it makes sense to look for ways that you can potentially save some money. One is to learn just how much your medical procedure should cost and compare that to the rates quoted.
Why Should You Learn the True Costs?
Many people never stop to think about shopping around for their medical procedures. In fact, many do not even realize it is a possibility. However, you will find that the price for medical procedures can vary greatly in different parts of the country, and even within the same states and communities in some cases. There is no “single price” across the country for medical care and procedures. You have the right to advocate on your own behalf to find and try to get the best possible price. When you know the actual prices, it becomes much easier to do.
Let’s look at an example to see just how much a procedure might differ in cost based on the location and the hospital. For this example, we will consider a laparoscopic appendectomy.
- First, let’s look at San Diego, CA. The total fair price (per Healthcare Blue Book) is $12,789. The fees for the hospital services are $10,871, the physician services are $1,177, and the anesthesia is $741.
- Next, let’s look at Austin, TX. The total fair price (per Healthcare Blue Book) is $10,732. The fees for the hospital services are $8,849, the physician services are $1,157, and the anesthesia is $726.
- Now, let’s look at Butte, MT. The total fair price (per Healthcare Blue Book) is $13,908. Hospital service fees are $11,402, physician services are $1,563, and anesthesia is $943.
- Finally, let’s look at San Francisco, CA. The total fair price (per Healthcare Blue Book) is $15,705. Hospital services are $13,622, physician services are $1,290, and the anesthesia is $793.
As you can see just from looking at these four examples for the same exact type of procedure, the price differences can vary wildly based on location. These are things you will want to consider whenever you are going in for any type of procedure or treatment.
How do you go about looking up the prices for medical procedures? Thanks to the Internet, it is easier than it has ever been. You can visit various websites that can help you get a better estimate of what your healthcare costs should be.
FAIR Health is a national nonprofit that works to provide consumers with a quick and easy way to understand the fair price for medical procedures. The website offers tools, such as their Medical Cost Lookup, that aim to provide more transparency when it comes to pricing. It is a very simple tool to use, too. Just enter your zip code, or your city or state, and fill out the form to let them know whether you have insurance or not. They can provide cost estimates for medical care with and without coverage. Next, choose from the various procedures and then click to get your results.
It is fast and easy, and they allow you to conduct up to 20 searches each week. This is a free service, and if you are going to be getting a procedure done, it is well worth the few seconds that it takes you to fill out and submit the form.
Healthcare Blue Book
Another website that you can use when you are trying to find accurate and fair prices for medical procedures in your area is Healthcare Blue Book. It is another easy to use site, and you can get an even more accurate estimate for your area when you type in your zip code. Once you enter your location, you can type in the type of procedure you need and click on the search button.
The results are quite robust on this website. You can learn the fair price fee details including the cost of the hospital stay if there is one, the physician service, anesthesia, and more. By getting as much of this information as possible, it provides you with more leverage. For example, some of your procedures might not require a hospital stay, so if the doctor suggests that you stay overnight, you can request that it is done on an outpatient basis. This can save thousands in some cases.
New Choice Health
Another website for you to consider is New Choice Health. This site has a very similar premise. You will choose the type of procedure you need, the insurance type, or uninsured if you do not have coverage, and your zip code. Click on the “Next” button, and you will get your results. It is another fast, free, and simple way to get the information you need about your healthcare and procedures.
Benefits of These Types of Websites
When you use these sites, you can take control of your healthcare. It becomes easier to negotiate for better deals when you are getting a procedure done. You have knowledge on your side, and you can put it to use to save money. These sites can provide information to patients no matter where they are in the United States, and each of the sites listed here for you to use are free.
If you find that certain procedures in your area are simply too expensive, but you still need them, consider looking at the prices for those procedures in other parts of the country. In some cases, it might be cheaper to travel for the procedure. Of course, that’s not always the case, so make sure you consider all the associated costs and have everything set up before you hop on a plane and show up at a hospital expecting surgery!
What If You’ve Already Had the Procedure?
Of course, you might be thinking that you would have loved to have heard about these sites before you had your procedure. Now that you have had the treatment and you have your looming medical bills hovering over you, it seems like it is too late. However, that does not have to be the case at all. Even though the procedure might have already occurred, if you are still paying medical bills, there is still room for negotiation. You can speak with the billing staff and request that you have the price adjusted to be in line with others in your area.
You will often find that they are willing to work with you. Explain your situation, and see what they can do. It might surprise you to see just how much money you can save on your medical bills if they readjust the prices for you.
What If the Bills Are Still Too High?
Maybe you have found that even after searching for the best possible prices for the procedure, the cost is still too high for you. Perhaps you have been laid off, you do not have enough coverage (or any coverage), and you know that paying for your procedure is simply not financially feasible. This does not mean that you should give up and forego the procedure, especially if you need it for your health. It means that you need to take steps that will help you to lower your medical bills.
In addition to negotiating with them, you will want to look for potential billing errors and consider payment plan options. Many will be willing to work with you, as the hospitals want to get the money.
Getting Help from the Pros
Of course, it is not always quite as easy as it sounds. If you are not good at negotiating, and you feel “weird” about trying to get your bills lowered, you might want to consider having someone else do it for you. Besides, working with a professional places you on a level playing field with the provider. Having a medical advocate who take care of these types of negotiations for a living, who speak the language, easily identify common cost shifting tactics, billing tricks & schemes; can provide a significantly better outcome for you without you having to put in any real work.
At Ducit Health, we know how frightening it can be to seem trapped beneath a mountain of medical bills. We want to help, and we have the knowledge, experience, and relationships to make that happen for you. In fact, we help our clients save an average of 59% on their medical bills. Imagine how nice it would feel to have your medical bills reduced like that. It could certainly help to lessen the amount of stress you and your family feel.
Get in touch with us today, so we can go over your bills and check for errors, and to negotiate on your behalf. It is what we do best, and we truly want to help you.
Meta: Did you know that you can look up the price of medical procedures in areas all around the country? Read on to see how to do this and how it can benefit you.