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Donna L. Montaldo

How To Negotiate Your Medical Bills

By February 18, 2013

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The last time I went to my dentist, he and I had to have a talk. He told me about the procedure I was going to need and the cost, and I told him what I could pay. We were able to negotiate and I ended up saving $300. The procedure was still expensive, but I was glad to get the discount.

The New York Times posted a very useful article, Bargaining Down the Medical Bills, by Lesley Alderman, addressing how to negotiate prices with doctors and hospitals. It points out the top tips on how to negotiate successfully and explains why the medical field may adjust many of your bills.

With the price of everything seemingly on the rise and a lot of us losing our insurance or dropping much of the top benefits, haggling with medical procedures is almost becoming a necessity. However, the way you discuss a doctor's fee is going to be different than the way you try to get a car salesman to drop the price of a car, as Alderman points out.

It helps to understand how medical billing works so that you can better define your expectations of how much can be discounted.

See also:

See Also: Learn How to Haggle

Comments
February 13, 2013 at 3:00 am
(1) Mark says:

Know the law, AB 774 allows people without health insurance or who have bills that are greater than 10% of your annual income pay the same price for hospital bills that Medi-Cal does? Google “AB 774.”

February 13, 2013 at 6:09 am
(2) Rick says:

Mary;

I paid $285, saved thousands, and I did not get a adverse credit ding. The consultants got in writting an agreement that the reduced sum I paid was to be considered as payment in full.

I worked with Ian at http:medicalbillconsultants.com

Email or call them, I was very satisfied.

Good Luck

February 16, 2013 at 2:47 pm
(3) Ian says:

Medical Bill Consultants provides professional medical and hospital bill review for uninsured and underinsured patient with guaranteed savings or your money back. They have a promo this April 2010 – flat fee for all types of bills! Visit http://www.discountmymedicalbill.com

February 17, 2013 at 3:10 am
(4) Pam says:

I wonder if veterinarians are willing to do this? I am recently retired and my 13-yr.-old cat has been having some expensive diagnostic tests. Now he needs dental cleaning & surgery which will cost between $600 and $1100. I have already spent about $1500 there this year alone. Any discount would help!

February 17, 2013 at 5:20 pm
(5) Healthcare Watchdog says:

The sad truth is that the new healthcare reform billĖwhether you like it or notĖdoes almost nothing to change the underlying reasons that medical bills are so high. The new law should expand the number of insured Americans, but of the people who are driven into bankruptcy every year by medical bills, 75% of them HAVE INSURANCE. Itís not a question of having insurance; itís whether insurance companies will approve claims when they ought to. But health insurers denied 100 million claims last year and theyíll deny another 100 million claims this year. And they can do pretty much the same things now as they did before reform was made law. In fact, in many ways, the law was very carefully crafted to satisfy insurance companiesí needs.
Iíll give you an example: If you read the reports about the new law, they say that insurers will no longer be allowed to cancel the insurance policies of people who get sick. But read this closely! It doesnít really accomplish anything, because when a policyholder gets sick and the insurance company wants to avoid its responsibility to pay their medical bills, they often use a trick called rescission, which fits neatly into a convenient loophole in the law. What they do is review the application you submitted when you first applied for insurance to try to find any excuse at all to rescind your policy. Usually, itís an innocent, often irrelevant, inconsistency between what your wrote on your application and what your medical records show. One woman in Texas said that, after being diagnosed with breast cancer, her insurance policy was rescinded because the insurance company said she had failed to disclose a visit to a dermatologist for acne. So when insurance companies find one of these ridiculous inconsistencies, they say you lied on your application, and so you committed fraudóso, technically, itís not a cancellation because you got sick; itís a rescission because you committed fraud. Did you really commit fraud? Of course notóbut it gives them an excuse to rescind your policy now that they know youíre sick and the medical bills are about to get really expensive. A little too convenient, if you ask me.

February 17, 2013 at 5:52 pm
(6) Sheri says:

I went to a dentist to get a second opinion. Before I went in the receptionist said he would charge me $138.00 for the office visit. I went in, it took him 5 seconds to confere with what my other Doctor said. I left the exam room and went to the receptionist and asked if that was really what they were going to charge me for the 5 sec look see. Bottom line, she only charged me half. If I hadn’t questioned it I would have been out the money.
Just wanted to share.

February 18, 2013 at 1:33 am
(7) sam says:

I am a medical biller/collector for doctors that work in hospitals and nursing facilities. It is easy to get your bills talked down. We give discounts to everyone that asks for one. The trick is to ask. Most people call in ask for the balance and say “oh my thats high, but ill send you a check”. All you have to do is ask.
We have a policy that we do not write off your deductible as it is insurance fraud. But all rules bend. ;)

Your bill and co-insurance all negociatble. Do not let any doctors office tell you different. We know that if you choose not to pay your bill then, we pay money for a collections agency to collect it. If you still dont pay it then it ends up on your credit. Chances are if its on your credit you will never pay it. We know this so we take what we can get.

I write off other doctors bills all the time. These are people that can afford the bill but we write it off because they are doctors. Trust me if you dont have money prove it to your doctor and they will help you.

February 18, 2013 at 4:57 am
(8) Donna Montaldo says:

Pam I haggle with my Vet all of the time. As a four-dog-owner I have to haggle! Also, does your area Walgreens offer the pet meds insurance? We have it here and it is worth the fee. Also, older Vets often charge less than younger Vets. Hope this helps.

February 18, 2013 at 9:48 am
(9) Mary says:

Rick, what did you have to pay the consultant?? And did it affect your credit rating?
Thanks very much!!

February 18, 2013 at 10:56 am
(10) Rick says:

I had emergency room bill of over $7,200. I had vertigo and they ran blood test and a CT brain scan. My health insurance has $5,000 deductible so I was on the hook for more then I could afford.

I found this consultant online and I let them review and negotiate my bills and paid less then $2,500.

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