UNDERSTANDING BILL NEGOTIATION:
In case you missed it, last week we focused on tips on how to handle large bills and ways to ensure that you do not pay unnecessary amounts.
This week we will focus on how you can use negotiation power by allowing a bill to go past 90 days.
What happens after 90 days?
- Did you know that there exists a contract between the insurance carrier and the healthcare provider, which states that within the first 90 days, they are required to bill you what it says in their contract?
- Once 91 days hit, it will be sent to collections. Sometimes you get a letter, or sometimes their collection department calls you. Now that it is in collections, the insurance company deems that the healthcare provider can decide on bill totals. That’s where you have your negotiating power comes in.
- NOTE: it has not been sent to the credit bureau because they can not do so yet.
Let’s work through an example to help explain this:
- That same family member from last week’s blog had a small bill but it was grossly overbilled. A CPL lab had billed $186 for a lab test. I looked up “medic fair pricing” – a good gauge for what a fair price is. Medicare pricing on this test was $84.
- I called CPL and said that they had overcharged her $100. They stated that this was the price; that they could work out a payment plan and that from here they would send her to collections.
- She gets a collections letter a few weeks later. We repeat the conversation about the $100 overcharge. An employee states that he can give a 50% discount.
- The total is now $90. Remember, if it had not gone to collections, CPL could have received the whole $84. But now they will only get 60% of $90, as that is how collections operate.
- In this case, my family member could now pay the $90, knowing she had paid a fair price.
You actually want to get the collection letter, because that’s when you have negotiation power!
If you have any questions please reach out to me.