Wednesday, March 27, 2013

How to Save a Ton of Money on Your Medical Bills

If you are like most people you probably have a health insurance plan that works a little something like this:

Your bill = co-pay (usually a fixed amount) + co-insurance ( usually a percentage of the total bill).

For the sake of this example let’s assume the co-pay is $50  and the co-insurance is 20% of the bill.  If the total bill is $200 your responsibility would be $80 (co-pay of $50 + co-insurance of 20%).  To this point this is pretty standard stuff, but you can tweak the numbers slightly to match your own plan details. 

Here’s the part most people don’t know.  A lot of people don’t pay their medical bills or they pay them very late, and the administrators of hospitals and medical practices are under a ton of pressure to collect the money they are owed in a timely fashion.  When people don’t pay they can’t repossess the medical care you received like a car dealer can repossess a car.  So what do they do?  Two things: Write off the debt or sell it to a collection agency for pennies on the dollar.

So how does this help you?  I’m certainly not advocating not paying your bills.  What you need to do is negotiate a big discount.  The day you get your bill call the department billing administrator and ask if they will settle the bill for a reduced amount.  In the above example I would offer them $40.  Usually they will accept this or perhaps offer a smaller discount.  Anything is better than paying full price. 

This may seem like small potatoes but over the course of a year this could save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars.  One final tip is that hospitals are the most likely to negotiate.  When my last child was born we had a $500 co-pay and they offered to settle it for $300 with one phone call.  You can get an even better deal if the bill is for a surgery or ER visit with a bill in the thousands.  Remember, be smart with your money, and never pay full price for medical care.  Your insurance company doesn't and you shouldn't either.

1 comment:

  1. So how does this help you? I'm certainly not advocating not paying your bills. What you need to do is negotiate a big discount. medical supplies


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