Negotiate Your Healthcare Costs Ahead of Time

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medical-billing-advocate_153034949We encourage all consumers to share your stories of inaccurate charges and unfair pricing on your medical bills so that we can share them anonymously with other consumers. Doing so has a two-fold effect: it helps others to see that they are not alone when they have been charged outrageous prices by a healthcare facility and it raises awareness for those who have not yet experienced being charged unfair prices for receiving healthcare. By raising awareness, hopefully more people will be inspired to take charge of their healthcare costs and will take steps to prevent being taken advantage of by a healthcare facility.

One particular consumer contacted us and shared his story of unfair pricing for medical care he had received. In his original contact statement he submitted to us, he explained that he had a planned procedure performed and had asked up front what the charges would be. He was told that as long as the procedure went according to plan and that no complications occurred, the cost would be approximately $12,000. However, after the procedure was performed, while he was recuperating at home, he received a bill for nearly double this amount, along with several other bills from radiology and the anesthesiologist. He called the facility’s billing department and was told that there was no record of a previously negotiated amount in his file. Because he had not received this quote in writing, the facility would not stand behind the pre-negotiated amount that had been discussed.

Being proactive in controlling your healthcare costs is smart – no one can deny that. But it’s unfortunate when efforts are wasted because appropriate documentation is not received at the time of negotiation. As with many other areas, when you receive a promise from a business – and a healthcare facility is a business – ask for that statement in writing and get it signed by an appropriate person in authority.

To get the best price, negotiate your healthcare costs ahead of time, and follow these few simple tips:

  • Arm yourself with knowledge. Go to a helpful website that can tell you a fair and reasonable price for the procedure you are having. Healthcare Blue Book (https://healthcarebluebook.com/) can be very helpful.
  • Negotiate a fair price based on the “Blue Book” price of that procedure. Once you have negotiated a total for all charges related to that procedure, get it in writing and have it signed by a manager in the billing department or by a member of the facility’s administrative staff.
  • If you are insured, make sure the facility and the doctors you will be seeing are in your health insurance network. Please note that it is very common for doctors who are working within your in-network healthcare facility to be out-of-network.
  • Ask your doctor or the surgeon if the procedure can be performed at an outpatient facility. If so, this could potentially save you thousands of dollars.
  • Let your doctor or surgeon know of any hardships you might be experiencing. Are you uninsured? Have you recently lost your job? Communicate your financial needs and you might be surprised at the outcome.

 

 

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One response to “Negotiate Your Healthcare Costs Ahead of Time”

  1. Dwayne Costello says:

    Negotiating a fair rate before services is the best way to secure a great deal, even more so if you can prepay. It is important to note website tools are based on usual & customary prices in the service area and do not necessarily reflect fairness versus the cost to perform said services. Knowing a facility’s overall cost to charge ratio is also a valued measure to hold providers accountable.