Drowning in Medical Bills?

It is no secret that healthcare costs have been rising steadily over the last few years.  The best way to cope is by becoming the best possible medical consumer.  The following article contains guidelines, bargaining strategies and tricks to prevent you from paying more than you should.

Assistance Programs. The first thing you should do before making any important decision is research your options.  There are a number of financial assistance programs provided not only by the government, but also by various social organizations, charities and the facility itself.  When you visit the doctor or hospital, ask their patient liaison if you qualify for any patient programs.

Negotiate.  If you negotiate for the cost of Doctor Shaking Hands with Patient and Fam, 09-25-12a home or car, why wouldn’t you do so for the cost of your health? This is especially important for health consumers with no insurance coverage because they are often charged higher rates than people with Medicaid, Medicare or health insurance. Doctors and hospitals want to be profitable, so they will sometimes accept a lower negotiated rate to avoid dealing with collection agencies or the risk of nonpayment.  If you are able to work a deal, make sure you get the arrangement in writing.

Look for Billing Errors. Your hospital or doctor’s billing staff, like us, is human and makes mistakes.  It is important to review your bills and check to see how much they were reimbursed by your insurance company.  If you receive a bill with “summary” in the title, ask for an itemized copy with more details.  When reviewing your bill pay careful attention to medications, supplies, etc. that you were charged but didn’t receive if your had an outpatient procedure or hospital stay. Look out for duplicate charges that may have been billed incorrectly.

Face your bills. It may sometimes be easy to ignore a medical bill if you are low on funds.  DON’T! To preserve your credit score and prevent the hassle of  creditors, contact billing departments and your creditors and see if they can work out a payment plan or reduced rate. 

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