How to Lower Your Medical Bills

Tips to Negotiate Lower Medical Bills

 

Do you want lower medical bills?  With health care costs spiraling out of control, it’s natural to want to lower your medical spending.  According to Consumer Reports, only 31% of Americans try to negotiate the price of medical bills, but those who do usually succeed in saving big money. These are some methods that will help you lower medical bills:

 

Understanding Your Medical Bills – Discounts and Charges

  1. Become familiar with routine discounts. Doctors and hospitals typically give discounts of as much as 60% to Medicare, Medicaid, and insurance companies. As an individual, you may have less leverage than the big payers, but you can usually save significant money by negotiating and asking for a discount.
  2. Look for the CPT code. Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes are the standard codes maintained by the American Medical Association. They’re what billing departments use to determine the charges for any procedure. Once you know the CPT codes, you can comparison shop. How cool is that?  Of course, we know not all medical care is the same, but it’s good to find out what an average or reasonable rate is.
  3. Get Comfortable with Negotiating your Medical Bills – Many health care providers are getting used to patients taking a more active role in controlling their spending. Millions of people have lost their insurance coverage along with their jobs. Even those who are insured are often paying more in out of pocket charges than ever before. So join the crowd and start wheeling and dealing.

Selecting Lower-Cost  Treatments

  1. Talk with your doctor. While billing departments are important, it’s your doctor who orders the services so let them know your financial limits. Avoid taking it personally if you encounter any resistance. Physicians may feel uncomfortable discussing money and may assume that your insurance covers more than it really does. It’s ok to push back and ask if the test is really necessary.
  2. Always Opt for generic drugs. Generic drugs are any easy way to save money. Most contain the same ingredients as the brand name formulas but they cost much less. This one step can dramatically lower your medical bills.

Negotiating Medical Bills and  Payments

Make up-front payments. Offering to pay by cash or check in advance is usually the best way to get a sizeable discount. Even doctors find cash is king. In exchange for bypassing insurance reimbursements or collections agencies, many providers will cut your bill by 20% or more.

Base your proposed payment on Medicare charges. Medicare payments are a great starting point for calculating your own expenses. Once you know your CPT code, look up the Medicare payments in your geographical area at the American Medical Association website or call around to the billing departments of local medical centers. Paying 25% more than Medicare is reasonable for most procedures.

Always Review your bills. This goes for all bill types but – Industry experts estimate that up to 85% of medical bills contain one or more errors. Ask for itemized bills and review them carefully. It may be helpful to arrange conference calls with the hospital and your insurance company to conduct a full analysis.

Ask about interest free payment plans. Obviously, paying by credit cards costs a patient more in the long run if interest accumulates. The provider also has to pay the transaction fees so they may be willing to give you a zero interest payment plan if you’re paying cash.

Hire a medical advocate. Medical advocates charge a fee for their services but the savings can be worthwhile, especially for large hospital bills. After all, they know the way around medical bills. Typically, you’ll pay a flat fee or 25% to 35% of the amount by which they reduce your total bills. You can find advocates in your area through free online directories at organizations like the National Association of Healthcare Advocacy Consultants.

Learn how to get discounts on your medical bills so you’ll be in a better position to afford the care that you and your family need. By shopping around and offering up-front payments, you could save thousands of dollars. Saving on your medical bills can really add up – and put a lot more money in your pocket.

Your Questions About How Do I Get Out Of Debt With Bad Credit

Betty asks…

How can you get into a home without any money down, bad credit and substancial debt?

I have been in and out of the hospital and am unable to work , my husband makes over $55,000 a year but we are a family of 5 crammed into a 2 bedroom apt. He has student loans and bad credit from divorce. He had a home from his previous marriage, but I have never been a home owner. The question is how can we get out of this hole we are in and start moving on with our life? Iwant to try to be in a home b4 my 3 yr old son starts school.. because the schools where I currently live are unsatisfactory. we currently pay $650 a month in rent .. which is more than most of my friends house payments so I am wondering how do I get started trying to improve our situation and get into a home .. with $1,000 in debt each month and no way to possibly save for a down payment of any kind. We have paid our rent every month, that is one thing we do make sure gets paid . have been in and out of the hospital and am unable to work , though we have not asked or have been receiving any assistance what so ever. My conditions include spinal bone growths, organ failure and chronic pain , which makes it difficult to just care for my son and my 2 step sons (which are all under the age of 12), Since my doctors have told me I am physically unable to work right now options for going back to work are not really there. My husband works 12 hour days at his job, that he has held for over 7 years. We have 1 car( that is paid off). Our rent of $650 a month that we do pay does not include our utlities or anything else. Our phone bills, electric, cable, water all get paid as well and we have a good payment history with them as well. Our credit debt includes :my husbands government student loans, credit cards from his previous marriage, and one month of car insurance not paid by me after I went into the hospital.
we are looking for a home in the $50-$100k price range .. so that we can make our payments.

richmama answers:

Try going to a new home builder. Like getting a new car, a new home will probably be easier to get into than a used home. My wife are only 24 years old and also have bad credit (560 for me 580 for her) and debt ($3k owed to an apt. Complex for broken lease among other things). Combined we only make about $40-45k a year which is less than your husband. The home builder that we were with couldn’t get us financed in house with them but because they wanted our business our loan officer referred us to another company that got us approved. This company was actually able to use my wife’s credit with my income level but this might have worked well for use because we work in the same company. To be honest with you your financial situation seems to balance out with ours because we have not kids but we do pay for a $450/mo. Car note and our mortgage is $950/mo. As opposed to the $650 you say that your friends are paying for mortgage. The only thing you must be aware of is property taxes. Property taxes range in different areas but they may be anywhere from $2,000-$6,000 or more per year depending on where you live. Your lien holder can include this into your note as a monthly payment and many times will depending on your type of loan (conventional, fha, 80/20, etc.). Our taxes for our area are about $4,500 a year which puts us at about an additional $400/mo. Bringing our total monthly payment to around $1350.

If you think that getting a used house might be cheaper, do your research. We were able to buy our house for $130k which is about the price that the used homes were selling for. It only made sense to get a brand new house that cost as much as a used house. The figures however will still run the same with the same taxes and same interest rate only you might have a tougher time getting a loan because there is no one pushing to get your business except for the loan officer and/or real estate agent who can only do so much for you. New home builders have many contacts that make buying a house a possibility for anyone.

David asks…

how can you get into a home without any money down, bad credit and substancial debt?

I have been in and out of the hospital and am unable to work , my husband makes over $55,000 a year but we are a family of 5 crammed into a 2 bedroom apt. He has student loans and bad credit from divorce. He had a home from his previous marriage, but I have never been a home owner. The question is how can we get out of this hole we are in and start moving on with our life? Iwant to try to be in a home b4 my 3 yr old son starts school.. because the schools where I currently live are unsatisfactory. we currently pay $650 a month in rent .. which is more than most of my friends house payments so I am wondering how do I get started trying to improve our situation and get into a home .. with $1,000 in debt each month and no way to possibly save for a down payment of any kind.
We have paid our rent every month, that is one thing we do make sure gets paid .
As I stated before.. I have been in and out of the hospital and am unable to work , though we have not asked or have been receiving any assistance what so ever. My conditions include spinal bone growths, organ failure and chronic pain , which makes it difficult to just care for my son and my 2 step sons (which are all under the age of 12), Since my doctors have told me I am physically unable to work right now options for going back to work are not really there. My husband works 12 hour days at his job, that he has held for over 7 years. We have 1 car( that is paid off). Our rent of $650 a month that we do pay does not include our utlities or anything else. Our phone bills, electric, cable, water all get paid as well and we have a good payment history with them as well. Our credit debt includes :my husbands government student loans, credit cards from his previous marriage, and one month of car insurance not paid by me after I went into the hospital.
Also I would like to add that my husband makes too much $ to get assistance .. but not enough $ to pay off all debts at this time. He works 12 hours a day at his job , then coach’s his sons sporting teams in the eveings.. so him getting a second job right now is not only prevented by his employer, but would not work with the amount of time that he has.

richmama answers:

You should check your local classified adds & online adds to find sellers that will finance. That way the person selling the home will be your “loan company”. Why would they sell you their house/and finance it if you have no money down and bad credit?? Because your monthly mortgage payments will be hundreds more than they could rent it for,and because they can easily forclose on you if you dont make the payments–Which some of them count on so be carefull.

Jenny asks…

Getting out of Bad Credit. Getting a loan to pay off my debt and just focus on that one laon? Is it possible?

So I think I‘m not quite in debt like some people I‘ve heard talk about themselves being $10,000 or more in debt. I‘m approximately $3,400 in debt to 2 credit cards, 1 apartment for damages after we moved out, 1 for Directv, 1 for my cell phone, and I owe my local preist about $350. At t he time I was going through such a financial mayhem and I wasn’t able to pay any of my bills. I was doing fine with everything until I quit school, the money stop coming and my job wasn’t enough. Does anyone know how to get out of debt. I have a job now but I‘m so busy paying for my current bills, my 2 stepson’s tuition, my college tuition, & my daughter’s needs. I‘m no one to complain of my husband because he’s a full time student and full time father to the children while I‘m the financial supporter and part time student. I think my husband getting a job would help but then again I strongly support his education. I heard that debt consolidation is only going to worsen things and I‘m avoiding that. ??

richmama answers:

Stop using your credit cards.

Put 25$ -50$per check into a separate account to build savings. Do this before paying your bills.

Start cutting costs, like: Cable, housephone, eating out alot. And things of that nature.

If you are not in default with these companies, dont start. Send them whatever you can and do it on time.

Set up a payment plan for your priest, he should understand a small monthly payment.

I know yu support you DH but your husband MUST get a job, you simply must get more income coming in.

Sometimes like makes you replan and focus. Can you find a cheaper apartment. Can you stepsons pay their own tuition or take out loan for that.

I wish you all the best

Laura asks…

Too much debt and bad credit?

I have $8000 in credit card debt and I have fallen behind on my payments on a few cards past 30 days and 1 card past 90 days. All are up to date besides the past 90 day late because the company is unwilling to work out a payment plan or anything with me.

How badly do you think this has affected my credit? Will I be able to rent an apartment? Also, best way to get out of this situation and be current??
Your funny Ted. I lost my job and the card was used for an emergency!!! I tried to work with the company form day 1 to reduce payments and they were uncooperative to say the least. Please don;t bark your opinion at me if you cannot help!

richmama answers:

Yes, you will be able to rent an apartment. Many complexes are 50% empty. They need you. It will be important that you explain your situation to them like you did in your question.
Paying off the cards will take time but you can do it. Just keep going. There is no magic answer..

Powered by Yahoo! Answers