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OFFER TO PAY CASH UP FRONT: People don't think they can do this, but doctors say the hardest thing they have to do is collect payments. If you're willing to pay up front and not be billed, it makes it easier for them. They may be willing to give you a break.
There are also organization that can help you to lower the bill (you toght me that I should look for professional in any area and do not try to do everything by myself):
http://www.healthadvocate.com/about_us.aspx The service, Health Advocate, is a call-in center that helps customers find the right doctor, haggle over insurance coverage and manage other medical system headaches.The April 2008 Edition of Smart Money Magazine contains an article entitled "Under the Knife: Cutting Medical Bills", by Angie C. Marek. The article describes how "haggling" for better deals on medical costs is on the rise. The article describes 6 ways to get better deals and lower your medical costs.
In these times of soaring medical costs, it certainly never hurts to
ask for a discount, especially if you are underinsured or do not have health
insurance, and the more informed you are about any medical costs you may
incur, the better off you will be. This past January I changed my family's
health plan to a high deductible plan with an HSA (which I will discuss
in the near future) where I pay a the first $2500 in costs out of pocket
up front, so over the past few months I have been trying to educate myself
on medical and prescription drug costs. I will certainly be trying
out some of these tactics when the situation arises in the near future.
- Don't put off dealing with your medical bill. Cohen advises to deal with the bill immediately. "Don't put them off," he says.
- Make a phone call or write a letter directly to the provider. Explain your situation and ask if it's possible to get an adjustment to your charges.
- Look for other assistance. "Work on paying the bill through an assistance program. Charity care can also help pay some or part or all of the bill," suggests Cohen. "Apply to any and all public programs that are available to you."
Insurance companies aren't the only ones who can negotiate a lower price -- you can, too. Here's how.By U.S. News & World Report
Sanjiv Luthra of Los Altos, Calif., suffered from the pain and fatigue of rapid-onset arthritis so severe that he couldn't walk 10 feet until he underwent double knee-replacement surgery in 2006. Now, two years later, he can walk and run, but he still suffers the fallout from another ailment: medical
Six hours in an operating room, two knee replacements, medications and a five-day hospital stay added up to a bill of $80,000, Luthra estimates. That's not counting bills for an anesthesiologist, physical therapy, additional medicines and special exercise equipment to help him recover.
"One should know what the cost of the procedure is, and that is something that is just impossible to figure out before or after the procedure," Luthra says. "I had no way of knowing beforehand there were going to be these six different types of providers . . . sending me bills."
Luthra's insurance company was able to negotiate with the hospital so that it paid about $20,000, and he parted with about $5,000, including expenses outside the hospital.
But individual patients can haggle for lower medical bills, too. Here are tips on how to go about it.
Work up the courage to askIt's not just insurance companies that can negotiate.
"The typical insurer gets about a 60% discount," says Gerard Anderson, the director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Hospital Finance and Management. "If you go into the hospital and ask the chief financial
officer, you may get a 30% discount, but you have to ask for it. It's totally up to the discretion of the CFO how much they or the person in the billing office are willing to give you."
Although it's common to negotiate with a real-estate agent or car salesperson you probably never will see again, it's much more difficult to negotiate with a doctor you trust to make you well and to provide continuing care for your family. Only 31% of Americans have tried to negotiate the price of medical bills, a survey by Consumer Reports National Research Center indicated. But of those who tried, 93% have been successful at least once, and more than a third saved more than $100.
Explore low-cost treatmentsMany doctors incurred large loans to finance medical school and probably understand the need to get a fair price as well as you do.
But even though almost 80% of physicians will prescribe a generic medication over a brand-name drug to save patients money, far fewer consider patient costs when recommending diagnostic tests (51%) or choosing between hospitalization and outpatient treatment (40%), according to a survey of physicians by the Center for Health System Change and the University of
If money is an issue, you need to ask your doctor if cheaper, medically sound options are available. The trick is to keep it friendly and ask nicely. For minor health ailments such as ear infections and pinkeye, drugstore clinics list reasonable prices upfront, with no negotiating required.
Find the correct personAlthough they are heavily involved in treatment decisions, doctors may not be directly involved in other billing issues, so you need to find a person with the ability to adjust your bill.
"I would suggest the consumer go to the office manager," says Timothy Cahill, a health-care consultant in Louisville, Ky., who has negotiated hospital bills on behalf of patients. The office manager should be able to direct you to the person in charge of billing.
Offer cash paymentsThis could be a mutually beneficial solution for you and the medical establishment.
"Paying cash is worth a lot to a doctor in terms of time and trouble, and it is a lot less complex for the hospital to deal with," says Shankar Srinivasan. He is a co-founder and the chief technology officer of Vimo.com, a company that uses public records to figure out what prices insurers negotiate with hospitals. Cash, he says, saves hospitals the trouble of negotiating financing terms, paying credit card transaction fees and sending collection agencies after patients who fail to pay.
Scrutinize the bill and your insuranceIf you don't have the cash to pay a large medical bill, you need to educate yourself about what your insurance should cover and try to negotiate a discount off the sticker price.
"As a consumer, just like a detective, you have to really understand the specifics of your insurance benefit plan, take the initiative of setting up conference calls (including yourself, the hospital and your insurance company) proactively, and you have to document everything," says Luthra, who is chief operating officer of the health-care-consulting company Benu. "You don't just pay the bill as is."
This article was reported and written by Emily Brandon for U.S. News & World Report.
Insure.com - How to haggle for a lower price with your doctor
Latest right wing meme- Haggle with your doctor for health care ...
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Haggle with your doctor, cut your bil lMSN Money
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Looking for deals- Here's how to haggle | deals, haggle, looking ...
Tips on How to Haggle -- New York Magazine
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Want a deal- Haggle for it
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Omaha.com - The Omaha World-Herald- Money - Won't hurt to haggle
Tips on How to Haggle -- New York Magazine
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