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Can't afford your medical bill? Here's what you can do

If you know the right questions to ask, you can probably reduce your financial burden in case of medical bills, even if you cannot make the bills disappear. To negotiate your medical bills, here are some tips you should keep in mind.

Spot common billing errors

While medical bills do not purposefully contain errors, you need to know how to spot errors when they occur.

  • You may be charged for a name-brand medication in place of a generic medication.
  • When multiple medical tests relating to one medical diagnosis are ordered, services that should be packaged together could be split and billed separately.
  • You may be billed multiple times for the same procedure.

To make sure the bill lines up with the actual treatment, be an educated patient and question all charges. As a patient and healthcare consumer, it is your right to know what you are paying for.

Know the fees and then go

You should know all about the fees incurring from your procedures. When you are price shopping before having a procedure done, get the quotes in writing. Rather than just the surgical costs, make sure to cover all fees associated with your procedure – like anesthesiologist, radiologist, laboratory costs, etc.

Learn about discounts

Unless you speak up, you would never know about the under-the-radar savings you can have on a medical bill. All you have to do is to ask whether there are discounts available in some situations, because many times there are. Usually you will not be told about any deals you can make. In this case, the only thing you can do is to be proactive and pursue the discounts you are eligible for.

Learn the healthcare jargon

Healthcare and insurance companies have a lot of insider jargon associated with them. If you do not know what much of it needs, do not be afraid to ask because you do not want to look uneducated. Do not take their word for something. Do not accept your bills at face value. Ask a question if you do not understand something.

Visit the billing department of the hospital

If you spot something fishy on your medical bill, do not brush it off and resolve to pay it. It can save time, but if it happens once, it is likely to happen again. You need to nip that in the bud though, and right away.

Or it may be that you cannot just afford the monthly payment. Do not let yourself go deeper into debt with late fees and other charges. You may be surprised by what you can work out just by having a one-on-one conversation about your financial situation with the source.

Do not be a pushover

Being rude will not get you anywhere while negotiating your medical bills. You will find the negotiating process easy to manage if you are polite and persistent. Communicate your financial situation clearly. Ask for the discounted payment options available for you. Request for the payment terms to be as long as possible.

Finally

You have no problem haggling over the price of a car or a home, so why not your medical bills?

Keep your own medical records. Take note of everything that happens after your treatment. And follow the tips above so that you can concentrate on your recovery when you have just had a medical procedure, and not how you will cover the bills.