Negotiating Hospital Bills
There are many different ways to negotiate a hospital bill and there are many reasons to try to do this, a primary one being to save money.
Medical Cost Facts
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2016, the average U.S. household spent approximately 8% of the family budget on health care. health care in America is at an all time high and there is no indication that these prices will decline any time soon.
It is estimated that nearly one in five American’s credit reports contain a medical bill that is in collections. This has a negative impact on credit scores and can lower an individual’s score as much as 100 points.
It may be important for you to negotiate a hospital bill in order to save your credit score from dropping.
In some cultures, negotiating is part of everyday life and people who are not good negotiators are looked at as less than smart. Depending on where in the United States you live, there is a good chance that negotiating is not a part of your everyday life.
When it comes to your medical bills, you should feel empowered to negotiate them even if this is not something you have ever done before. You should not be worried that doing this will compromise you, or even cause you to be denied future care. If you are struggling with medical bills, it is often looked on favorably if you reach out as soon as you can to explain and demonstrate your good faith in paying off your bills, even if you cannot do it in accordance with the original timeline.
As much as we want to think that hospitals and insurance companies are the good guys, they are often the ones that make it difficult for patients to get the care they need. It is not the doctors and nurses at hospitals that do this but rather the staff and/or company that deals with billing.
As a patient and the person who signs that they will be financially responsible for their treatment, it is important to be as informed as possible when it comes to your health care and its costs. You can do a lot to minimize your costs including, beginning with choosing a health insurance plan that includes all your preferred providers as in-network and by making sure you only use in-network hospitals and health care providers. A tricky slope many unfortunate patients have had to climb is when they have scheduled a procedure with an in-network provider but the facility the procedure was performed at was out of network, or a similar scenario with different entities being in and out of network.
After treatment, be sure to check all of your bills for errors. Because of the language that is used for medical bills, this can be tricky but you can find out medical codes online. These codes may be mismatched or what is called, upcoding. Upcoding is when you are billed for a similar treatment that is more costly than the one you actually had. Other errors include duplicate billing and what is known as unbundling, when services that should have been billed as one umbrella diagnosis or code are billed separately, adding additional costs.
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