Those who have had accidents or who have undergone a medical procedure, worrying about medical bills tends to be where the mind drifts. People who are considering getting a treatment they need might hold off because they have no idea how they can afford it. During this time, people should put their focus into healing and recovering, or getting the help and procedure they need.
However, the fear of those massive, looming hospital bills tends to creep into the mind and stick there. You worry about just how much it is going to cost. You worry that they might make a mistake with the billing. You worry about what might happen if you miss a payment. The worries pile up, making you not want to get the procedure at all, or more difficult to recover if you’ve had the procedure or care.
While you can’t make all your medical bills magically disappear, you can often take steps that will help you to save money on them. The following steps are relatively simple, and they can be effective.
Look for the Most Common Billing Errors
Most of the time, the billing from the hospital will be accurate, but that is not always the case. Sometimes, mistakes slip through the cracks. You should look at the bill you received and understand what each part of it means, so you know exactly what they are charging you for. This can be difficult, as most people do not understand the coding that occurs on medical bills, so you will want to have it explained, or visit a professional that can go over the bills with you.
The following are some of the common types of errors that can occur, and that you will want to watch for on your bills.
- Balance Billing – In some cases, charges that an insurance company might pay are inadvertently “left over” and added to the balance that you owe. These should have been paid by the insurance company, so there is a good chance that you do not actually owe that amount.
- Duplicate Billing – This is when you receive more than one bill for the same procedure.
- Mismatched Coding – These types of errors happen when the treatment code and the diagnosis do not match. In those cases, the insurance company will deny the claim, but it can generally be corrected quite easily.
- Unbundling – This means that services that should be bundled together have been billed separately.
- Upcoding – This simply means that you were charged for a different treatment than what you received. It usually happens with a more expensive treatment.
By examining your medical bill closely, you may be able to find mistakes. Correcting them will reduce your cost.
Know the True Cost of the Service
How much do the medical services and treatments you are getting cost? This is information that most people never bother to find out, and it could be costing them. One of the best sources you can use when you are looking for the cost of medical care is Healthcare Bluebook. This site will allow you to input information about your procedure, test, or other service and then find out how much you should be paying for the area where you live. Another good source for this information is New Choice Health. You can compare costs, and then find out what type of discounts are reasonable. In the next section, we will discuss more about asking for a discount.
When you learn to look up the real costs of healthcare, you will find that you never again need to overpay for your medical costs. More people should learn how to do this, as it has the potential to save them a substantial amount of money.
Simply Ask for a Discount
Have you ever thought about asking the providers for a discount on the services and treatment they provide? People have no trouble when it comes to negotiating over the price of a vehicle they want to buy, but they cringe at the idea of doing that for their health. Your health is far more important than a vehicle, and it tends to be quite a bit more expensive, too. It simply makes sense to ask for a discount for healthcare. You might be surprised at the results.
Talk with the people who are taking care of the billing and try to negotiate with them for a lower price. You need to be confident when you ask for the discount. By giving them some personal information, such as the ability to pay the bills, or the fact that your insurance does not cover a certain treatment can help. Most of the time, people are on your side and they will want to help if they can. You could also offer to pay cash in advance if you can get the discount. You could also ask them if you qualify for financial assistance programs.
You do not always have to negotiate before you get your procedure or treatment. Many times, people are already struggling with high bills they can’t afford. Even in those cases, you can ask for a discount. Repeatedly, hospitals want to collect money, even if it is not the full amount, and they might be open to the idea of a partial payment to take care of the entire bill. You could ask about paying a portion of the bill and having the rest written off. In some cases, they will agree.
Even if they do not agree, they might still look at your offer and counter with one of their own. You can negotiate and try to find something agreeable. This can help you to save quite a bit in some cases.
Of course, even asking for a discount can be dismissed or minimized as a patient simply because the patient does not hold any industry authority: knowing the language, common billing tricks, customary rates, and so forth. This is where a professional could help, which we will discuss later.
Ask About Outpatient Options
Do you always need to stay in the hospital? Hospital stays, even for just a single day, can be very expensive. You might want to see if the type of procedure you are having done, which requires a night in the hospital, could be provided on an outpatient basis. This is not always an option, but it is something you will want to consider asking about.
Ask About Payment Plan Options
Even if you negotiate your bills and the total is lower than what it was before, it can still be difficult to pay for many people. You may want to ask if you can get an interest free payment plan to take care of the medical costs. This can make the payments more affordable, and if you are making those payments on time, you might be able to negotiate further in the future. Some might even be able to have part or all of the remainder of the bill written off. Many hospitals are willing to work with patients who are looking for ways to pay that are still affordable.
Never Pay Using a Credit Card
One of the ways that some people believe they can take care of their medical expenses so they are not beholden to the hospital is to put it all on a credit card, or across several cards. They reason that they can eventually pay off the medical bills in smaller payments over time. However, this means you will not be able to negotiate for lower prices, as the hospital already has your money. In addition, when you put it on a credit card, you are going to be paying interest on the card for years. This will make it more expensive than the actual procedure. That is the last thing you want. Even if the interest rate seems relatively low, it could cost you much more than you realize.
Get Help from a Professional
Dealing with your high medical bills on your own can be scary. You do not know what is going to happen to you if you don’t pay or can’t pay. It is time that you took steps to reduce those bills so you can save some money, and you do not have to go this route alone. It is a good idea to work with professionals in the field who have the experience and the savviness needed when it comes to negotiating.
Do not let your health suffer because you feel you cannot afford the medical care you so desperately need, and do not let the medical bills you have now slow your recovery. Utilize the steps in this article, and get in touch with us a Ducit Health, so we can provide you with the help you need to negotiate your bills. Our customers save an average of 59%, and we are ready to help you.