Tips For Reducing The Cost Of Medical Bills
Big medical bills can be frightening if you don’t have insurance or don’t have enough coverage. Luckily, there are more options available than you might realize when it comes to health care bills. If you know how to negotiate down the original amount, you can save a great deal on your medical bills.
Hospital bills may include charges for doctor visits that never happened, procedures that were never done, and drugs that weren’t administered. Ask for an itemized bill and go through it line by line, verifying the charges. If you find errors, alert the billing department of the hospital where you had the procedure so that they can fix the bill and send you a correct one.
You’ve probably noticed that the amount your provider bills your insurer and what your insurer actually pays are quite different. Your bill shouldn’t be higher than what an insurance company would pay. Ask your providers to discount your bills down to what the largest insurer in your area would pay for the same treatment. Health care providers often offer no-interest payment plans, so can spread out the payments over three to six months to prevent financial hardship.
Many people qualify for financial assistance that can dramatically reduce or eliminate their bills. If your income is low, you can ask to speak to a financial counselor about financial assistance for your medical costs. Hospitals typically base the amount of help you’re offered on the federal poverty line and those whose incomes are less than twice the poverty-line limits often have their entire bills erased.
Health care bills are different from most other debt. Medical payment plans typically aren’t reported to the credit bureaus, although if you miss payments the account may be turned over to collections. Medical debts are often collected on a commission basis and the medical provider can take the debt back from the collector to negotiate directly with you. Medical debt can also be wiped out in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or be part of a Chapter 13 repayment plan.