5 Tips to Know Before Negotiating Your Medical Bills

One of the most prevalent financial problems in the United States is medical bills. People who may not have insurance, or at least good insurance, are often left with medical bills they simply cannot afford to pay. However, instead of letting those bills go into collection and linger over your head, you may be able to negotiate and reduce what you owe.

Read Information Carefully

When you receive a bill after having a procedure done at the hospital, go over it very carefully to check for mistakes. Sometimes the wrong coding is used for a procedure and you may be billed more than you should be. You could be charged more than once for the same procedure or other mistakes, such as balances left over that should have been paid by your insurance company or expenses that should have been bundled, may be on the bill. Look up the medical codes online to check for accuracy and then call the billing company to get mistakes corrected.

Know the Charges

Before having surgery or other procedures done, find out what you will be charged and how much you will be responsible for after your insurance has paid its portion. For an elective procedure, such as a rhinoplasty or nose job, shop around to find the best rates, but be sure to vet the doctor as well. Ask for the costs you’re quoted to be sent to you in writing and make sure all of the doctors are covered by the quote to avoid surprises when you are billed.

Find Out About Discounts

Ask about any discounts that you might be qualified for when you’re inquiring about the costs of a procedure. There are several discounts that may help you pay the bill, including discounts you would not be aware of unless you asked about them. Some doctors work with charities to help patients pay their medical bills and you should check to see if you qualify for any programs in which your doctor participates.

Know the Terms

Educate yourself about insurance terms so you know what they mean and will be able to find out how much your out-of-pocket responsibilities are when you visit a doctor or have a procedure done. You should know what a deductible means and how it is applied to your bill. You should be aware of what a co-payment is, what co-insurance means and how to determine if the medical provider is in or out of your insurance network.

Pick Up the Phone

If you find errors on billing or are having problems making payments on medical bills, calling the billing department or pay them a visit in person. You should be able to get the mistakes rectified and the bill recalculated to find out what you actually owe. In addition, the billing department will usually work with patients by reducing payments or extending the amount of time to have to pay a bill.