It is a fact that the ailing economy has made it increasingly difficult for people to sustain their desired quality of life, even in aspects of healthcare. More and more people are being forced to settle for cheaper health plans and indeed the medical fraternity is now being forced to contend with multiple patients with struggling financial statuses. Medical bills do sometimes soar to unmanageable levels but negotiating them down will definitely help lower them, and in so doing, make their payment somewhat easier.
The negotiating down of medical bills is a practice that is fast becoming commonplace in labs and hospitals around the country. Your request for bill negotiation will therefore hardly shock any facility’s accounting department. Depending on the insurer that the medical facility is working with, there may be as many as a dozen rates for an identical procedure. As such, accounting departments will always find a fitting payment bracket that will work for your situation. There are however some effective tips that will help you successfully lower your medical bills through negotiation, and it is these that are highlighted below:
Do Some Informed Prior Research
It is obvious that effective negotiation can only be done when the actual cost is well known to you. Use the resources at your disposal to find out the costs for your desired medical procedure. The internet will be most handy here and you can visit websites that provide state by state medical care costs. Health insurance providers’ websites can also provide useful information as can a relevant Google search.
Negotiate Before Getting the Medical Service You Need
The art of negotiation naturally works best before a desired product is used or a desired service provided. This is also the case when you want to negotiate your medical bills lower. Before you undergo a procedure, for example surgery, ask the medical professional for a price cut or some sort of discount. Chances are that they are also facing some financial hiccups of their own and will readily accept such a business opportunity.
Learn the Etiquette of How to Make a Request
When you intend to pay a reduced rate for any medical procedure that you desire, you should first have the necessary talking skills that will work for you and not against you. Remember that you are the one in need of the discount and not the healthcare professional or provider. State your case in a polite and patient manner that will mellow the professional’s heart enough to make him/her oblige to your request.
Don’t be Timid or Shy
Being timid when you need assistance will definitely mean that you won’t get any at all. Many people will hesitate to speak up about their financial situations when they require help but doing so is the only way out. Muster your courage and explain yourself to the doctor or accounting department personnel. They are not ignorant of the state of the economy and in most cases they may offer you a good percentage discount, say up to 30% or more, depending on the desired service/procedure. They may also put you in a payment plan where you can make an immediate down payment and have the balance paid in regular and affordable monthly installments.
Medical service providers extend financial relief in accordance with the financial status of individual patients. This should be enough motivation for you to state your case as well as you can as it’s only you who knows your situation best.
Offer to Pay Cash
Another way to increase your chances for successful medical bill negotiation is to make payments in cash. The fact that a medical bill will be settled on the spot rather than be delayed courtesy of credit procedures is an effective motivation for medical service providers to consider your negotiation/discount requests. Medical practices are known to lose large sums of money annually in the form of unsettled bills. In these struggling times they will rarely pass up any opportunity to seal a deal on the spot, even if they have to part with some amount in the form of a discount.
Off-Peak Time Services Will Always be Cheaper
The reference to off-peak services certainly does not apply to issues about your health per se ideally because illnesses do not let you choose when they’ll affect you. This pointer is more relevant to medical procedures and services that tend to be seasonal, for example cosmetic plastic surgery. Such procedures tend to be in most demand during summer seasons, and with the increased demand at the time they tend to be pricier. Deciding to have the same procedures in an off-season will almost always see you pay a lesser medical bill.
In the same breath, you can manage to negotiate a prospective medical bill lower by offering to undergo your desired procedure as a substitute for a previously booked appointment that was canceled. The medical professional will be glad to make some money instead of none at all.