How to Negotiate Your Spiraling Health Care Bill and Become Debt-Free
Health care is expensive in the United States. That is because many Americans are finding it hard to cope with their medical bills. According to https://www.cnbc.com, it was predicted by NerdWallet Health that approximately 56 million US adults in the age group of 19 to 64 years would struggle with their health care bills in 2013. Again, based on the findings of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American family spent $4,612 on medical issues in 2016. And, it is needless to say that with skyrocketing health care bills, the insurmountable debt will follow, affecting family living, health, and peace of mind. However, there is not much to worry if you know how to deal with the situation. All you need to do is start saving money, pay off bills on time, maintain a healthy credit score, and know how to negotiate your healthcare-related bills to stay debt-free. Here is a comprehensive guide that will show you how to go about the same.
Learn How Much You Can Save
Depending on the medical care you get, the place you live, and your monthly income, it is not easy to determine how much dollars you can save through medical bill negotiation. Then, did you know there are many opportunities for negotiation? And all of them will help you save considerably. These include:
Look for the best Health Insurance Plan
The first and foremost thing you can do is pick out the best insurance plan. Ensure that the plan includes your preferred medical professionals, doctors, hospitals, and diagnostic centers. Once you achieve this, your medical insurance company will cover most of the cost that comes within their scope or purview. When the maximum medical costs are covered, you need not shell out money from your pocket.
Start Negotiating before Your Treatment Starts
If possible, shop around a little and shortlist a health care provider before treatment commences. You can ask one of your family members or friends to negotiate with a hospital. Research and look for websites that will help you learn about the typical expenses for health care services near you. Your family or friends can contact a couple of providers and inquire what they charge for a specific service instead of visiting the first doctor that you know of or referred to by any person. The method will not only help you save cash but also know what you will be paying before the treatment starts. However, you should not take any decision based on the price. Cost is important, but you must consider other factors like which doctor has the most expertise and who has done the maximum medical procedures on patients with your condition.
Negotiate Post Treatment
Even after you have received treatment, chances of negotiations are open. Start reviewing every bill you get from the hospital and the insurance provider. Compare the bills with that of the records that you have. If you notice any billing mistakes, talk to your medical provider and get them rectified. If entries or expenses included in the bill look suspicious, mark that item and ask questions for proper clarifications. Just by asking a few questions, you may attract attention to an item that has been erroneously added to your health care bill. Even if you find no errors, you can negotiate for a reduced bill. If you have good persuasion skills and you have financial constraints, getting a discount of 10 or 15 percent is not that difficult. Besides, you can look for platforms such as nationaldebtrelief.com that help people with health care bill settlement.
Be Familiar with Health Care Jargon
Did you know there are many medical jargons related to health care and insurance providers? Therefore, if you are not familiar with these terms and phrases, a medical facility may take you for a ride. If they understand that, you do not know the meaning of such jargon, a health care provider may inflate your medical bill. Therefore, do not shy away from asking questions. You will not look stupid if you ask questions. You have the right to information. So avoid taking their word as gospel truth. You will do yourself much injustice by paying the bills at their face value. In case, you do not know something, ask questions. This way, a health care provider cannot financially rip you off. Not many Americans read the whole health plan agreement. Not knowing the terms will make you shell out thousands of dollars just because you did not read carefully. Never allow this to happen to you for your benefit.
Inquire if You’re Eligible for Some Discount
There are situations when you purchase something and pay the full price without asking whether you qualify for any discount. The same rule holds true in health care plans. Sometimes, medical discounts are available. All you need to do is ask one or two questions. For example, the doctor you visit may be associated with a hospital network, which offers a flat 10 percent off provided you pay the bill over the phone. These little things matter. You need to start saving. Besides, there are other tactics to reduce your health care bill. It is something called a charity care program, and it will save you good money provided you qualify for the same.
Be Polite While Negotiating
When negotiating to reduce your medical bill, politeness counts more than being aggressive and rude. Losing your temper will do you no good. Therefore, stay calm and composed, but make your point assertively. Be persistent, and the negotiation will sail smooth. Even if you are talking over the phone, stay calm and objective. The biller will take note of your behavior.
Medical billing is complicated. Therefore, you must know about its ins and outs to negotiate in a better way. Focus on these tips mentioned above. It will help you to reduce your bill, and in many instances, you will find financial relief than you expect. You cannot make your bills disappear, but if you ask the right questions at the right time, you can avoid falling prey to medical debt.