How to Negotiate Down High Medical Bills
Post by Travis Holmes
Medical bills are often inflated to make up for the fact that many consumers remain uninsured. Health insurance is quite expensive and it does not fit into everyone’s budget. You cannot control when medical emergencies happen but you can work with the hospital to obtain discounted services due to lack of insurance and lesser income.
Ask About Financial Assistance
Nearly all hospital situations have financial assistance available. At the time of registration, it is ideal to ask for information about this program. In most cases, forms can be filled out on the spot to receive assistance with your bill. In other cases, you may have to wait for the bill to arrive to speak with the financial aid department for a reduction.
Discuss Reduced Fees for Cash Paying Patients
Some hospitals, urgent care facilities and doctor’s offices will charge a reduced fee for those on limited budgets or for those that simply do not have insurance. The rising cost of healthcare warrants this being necessary. So many hospital bills go unpaid due to their size. Hospitals will work with people on limited or low incomes to ensure that they receive proper care and can repay the bill.
Review the Itemized and Detailed Bill Received
Always request an itemized bill. This shows every test, medication or treatment given to you and its cost. In some cases, over-charging does occur and it leads to hospital bills being hundreds of times more in the end. Review the bill and ensure that there are no exorbitant costs on it. If you find discrepancies, contact the financial aid department at the hospital immediately to begin working on lowering the bill.
Discus Medicaid Options
With some hospital systems, the need to apply for Medicaid, or that state’s version of it, will help to get the bill reduced some. This shows the hospital that you need medical attention but do not have the ability to repay them. Even just applying for Medicaid lowers your overall bill since financial distress is noted.
The amount that you see on the bill is not always what you pay at the hospital. Hospitals expect patients to negotiate and get reduced bills, so this is often the reason for the inflated prices to begin with. Although most bills go unpaid, a hospital still has to treat you when you need it. Try to do your best to negotiate the final cost and work out a payment plan that works for your income levels.