Six ways to reduce your medical bill in the US - ForumDaily
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Six ways to cut your medical bill in the US

Medical services are expensive, but you have much more control over the final bill than you think.

Photo: Shutterstock

Edition The balance collected several options on how to reduce the cost of medical services, regardless of whether you had to go to the hospital unexpectedly or for a routine examination.

1. Cooperate with your doctor

If you need a test or procedure that requires a hospital stay, get involved in the planning process, and not just wait for a call with details from your doctor’s office. You have the full right to know the details about the procedure that will be performed on your body.

If your insurance company offers a discount on the use of this service within the network, then you need to make sure that everyone who will carry out the procedure in your case is in the network of your insurance company. This applies to the doctor, laboratory, anesthesiologist and the hospital itself, in which the procedure will take place.

Ask your doctor to talk about the costs associated with the procedure that you will undergo, and suggest ways in which you can reduce the bill.

Is hospital stay necessary? Perhaps the same procedure can be done in an outpatient mode, where the stay is much cheaper than in the hospital.

On the subject: Five things to do before paying your medical bills

In addition, some examinations involve several tests, some of which can be done in a regular laboratory, and it will be cheaper than if you do them while in the hospital.

Also specify whether you will be given a discount if you are ready to pay the entire bill immediately after receiving it.

2. Talk to your insurance company.

As soon as you find out all the details with your doctor, call the insurance company to find out more information. Specify how much your procedure will cost at the facility that you will use, whether all persons participating in the process are members of your insurance company network, and how much you, according to preliminary estimates, will have to pay out of your pocket after paying insurance.

Check with the insurance if there are cheaper options for passing the procedure or an opportunity to get a discount.

Be sure to ask if you need prior approval from the insurance before going through this procedure. If, in a conversation with insurers, you learn about the way to save, discuss it with your doctor, even if this involves making adjustments to a previously approved procedure plan.

3. Explore hospitals

Do not blindly follow the advice of a doctor and insurance, but do your own research to determine if there are cheaper options for completing the procedure you need. Most insurance companies have an application that allows you to search for compare prices for a particular service by region. Next to you may be a hospital that will provide this service at a lower price, but the insurance company or the doctor missed it or thought that it was too far away. Before agreeing to a cheaper service, it is worth checking out the hospital reviews, so that the desire to save does not lead to the fact that you receive a poor-quality service.

After you have chosen a hospital, read their policies so that you understand the billing procedure for you. Find out what is included and what is not included in the cost of hospital stay, so as not to accidentally increase the bill using services that you do not need, but can fly into a pretty penny.

Also, check the schedule of the procedure you need to understand what day you should go to the hospital in order not to overpay for additional days.

4. Document your hospital stay.

Medical institutions are often mistaken when billing, so it is better to keep a diary of your stay in the hospital, indicating the time spent in the hospital and the procedures and tests you underwent there.

If your health does not allow you to do this, ask someone to keep a diary for you.

What you need to document:

  • How long have you been in the operating and rehabilitation ward. Invoices for staying at these facilities are billed per minute, so it’s worth recording the exact time of entry and exit from them.
  • Procedures / tests that were scheduled (including those that were subsequently canceled). Hospitals often forget to deduct from the invoice the cost of canceled procedures.
  • Drugs that you received.
5. Check your invoice carefully.

As already mentioned, errors in medical bills are a frequent occurrence, so everything must be carefully checked before payment.

Request a detailed invoice from each service provider, there will be a lot more details that will simplify the verification process.

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Unfortunately, medical services are marked with codes, so checking an account will be a daunting task. You will need to check every code on the Internet to see exactly which services you are offered to pay for and whether you really received them.

Also check if the same service is duplicated in the accounts. If something seems incomprehensible to you or the cost of the service looks too high, contact the hospital billing department to discuss it.

Hospitals are ready to conduct an audit of the account if the client points out errors to them.

6. Bargain

After all the errors have been corrected, it's time to ask for a discount. Call the billing department and ask if they are ready to reduce the bill if you pay it in full after the invoice.

If you cannot pay the bill in full by a one-time payment, ask for a gradual payment plan. Tell them how much you can afford to pay each month, and they usually agree with your offer. Hospitals do not charge interest on unpaid bills, so the payment plan is better than paying the entire bill using a credit card. As long as you do not violate the agreed payment plan, the hospital will not bother you.

If you have a difficult financial situation, inform the billing department. They may have charity or labor programs to help such people. If you are unemployed, have a low income or are in debt, you can qualify for help.

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