Medical costs have gone through the roof in recent years and most people can use all the help they can get when it comes to paying medical bills. Becoming educated beforehand is all it takes to save serious money when faced with outrageous health care costs.
The administrative medical community will not openly admit this, but many health professionals and organizations are now open to negotiation. Mark Rukavina, the executive director for Access Project, a non-profit organization that helps people manage excessive medical expenses, says doctor and hospital bills are not carved in stone. According to Rukavina, most hospitals, doctor offices and various other health care professionals will work with patients to help lower their bills, especially for those whose medical insurance has an obviously high deductible and those who have no medical insurance at all.
How to Save on Health Care Costs
When it comes to negotiating the high cost of medical care, the following are proven tactics that are not only acceptable, but are even becoming common place.
Talk with the doctor – Prior to treatment, openly discuss costs with your physician. Most people are not comfortable with this practice, but once over the initial broach of the subject , it gets progressively easier. Ask about similar treatments or procedures that are less costly, but equally beneficial. Many people are amazed by the abundance of options.
Compare hospital costs – Just because a hospital is close or is recommended by a particular physician does not mean it's the only option. Comparative shopping can save a tremendous amount of money on a stay in the hospital. Speak with the billing department prior to your stay, chances are they will meet the prices of a potential competitor.
Check all avenues for financial assistance – When a patient does not have insurance, hospitals have financial counselors available to assist and answer questions. Always ask about the hospital's no-interest payment plan; they all have them. Additionally, these advisers are familiar with local charity organizations, insurance discounts, government programs and other groups who are available to help.
After a hospital stay, ask for an itemized bill – Most hospital bills viewed by accountants have been shown to have errors. Common mistakes include typos, misplaced decimal points, procedures that were not preformed and even charges for dates after discharge.
Reconfirm. Is a hospital stay absolutely necessary? Many times a doctor will concede that a series of tests, or out-patient procedures done by independent facilities will suffice. The cost for such a treatment plan will be far less expensive.
Don't give up. If a hospital customer service representative insists there are no discounts or hospital bill reductions available, don't be discouraged. Push the point, be persistent and demand to speak to the finance manager or someone else who is in charge.
Insurance companies and the business hand of hospitals expect patients to pay their bills without question; this is what they count on. And that is because up until recently, most people did not know they had a choice. Today's consumers are doing their homework and finding that medical costs can be lowered considerably, and without that much effort.