Top tip: save money by NOT paying the first bill.
You heard that right! NOT paying the first bill.
So I know I’ve talked about this before, but I got to witness how it truly worked with a client, and I wanted to share it with you:
- My client has a family member who was left with a balance of $180 to pay on a lab bill.
- I reviewed the bill and looked up what Medicare would normally pay for that service.
- $86 is what Medicare allows, and the bill was $180 (nearly $100 more).
- Note that the Medicare allowable charge is a good barometer for a fair price.
- Knowing what I know about the labs not wanting to negotiate off the bat, we waited till the third notice was received. I then advised the client to call, and say they have a bill for $180, and that they know the fair price for this procedure is about $86. Will you accept that as payment? And they said no. They will willing to set up a payment plan for $25 a month. I shook my head, and they said no thank you and hung up.
- 3 weeks later, we get a notice from the collection department. Don’t be afraid of getting collection notices. Just because it went to the collection service, does not mean that shows up in your credit report. They must wait 180 days before they report you to the credit bureau.
- We call again, saying the same thing as the first time, and we are put on hold. This time they say that they can’t do $86, but they can do 50% of the bill, which is $90.46. SOLD.
- My client paid half of what the original bill was. Since it had gone to collections, they receive about 30%. The lab actually gets even less than half, because they have to pay the collections agency. So that $90 will vary. But I know that if the collection agency collects it, they get a percentage, usually, it’s around 30%. The big-name lab could have taken $86. But now instead they’re only getting $60. They weren’t willing to negotiate by looking up online the code to see what a fair price is using the Medicare code pricing.
- Remember – we did not offer an amount, we let them come to us with the number they would accept. We could either negotiate a payment plan if need be or just pay that in full. We were willing, and we already knew before we made the phone call that if they offered at least a 50% discount, the bill will be paid in full, which is what we did. ALWAYS BE PREPARED WHEN YOU CALL.
This is one of the services I offer. If you have me as your agent on record, these are the things I can teach you and help guide you. I don’t do those calls for you. You cannot pay me to negotiate your bills, but I can give you advice and tactics to use that do work. They will lower your out-of-pocket costs.