This week I want to talk about how to eliminate large hospital bills. I am sure that many of you have had experiences of reviewing hospital bills, even after insurance has paid out, and found that the bills are ridiculously high.
There are two main factors to consider. Whether you have insurance, or whether you will be a cash-only patient. If you know ahead of time you will be a cash patient, ensure they give you the cash price, and ask for a cash discount upfront. If you have insurance, at times, claims will not be paid, and you will be liable for the bill. It is important to know that hospitals and ER’s do mark up the prices of procedures, often up to or higher than what the insurance company is willing to pay for that code. This way they can get as much money for the procedure as possible. The problem comes in for you if your insurance is not willing to pay for this particular claim, and you need to pay out of pocket.
Here is an example. I had a client who had an MRI done, and the insurance would not pay. The charge for the MRI was $2400, billed to my client. I called this imaging place and pretended to be a potential patient, needing an MRI. I told them I don’t have insurance and would like the cash price. I gave the same code as my client with the $2400 bill. I was told the cash price was $525. Nearly a fifth of what they’re charging my client! It is fair to say that $525 is the true price of the MRI, otherwise, they wouldn’t charge that to cash patients. They are clearly overcharging my client, sending them the bill they sent to the insurance company.
So, I had my client write a letter telling them that they were willing to pay $525 since that is what they charge for an MRI for cash patients. We are still waiting for a response, but remember, you do need to wait until the bill is 91 days old because they usually will not negotiate before that. Always remember that you are able to advocate for yourself, but that having someone who knows the industry is even better.
One of the services that I offer to my clients is to teach them tricks about negotiating and provide guidance on how to resolve bills. Not only do I help people save money on insurance premiums, I help them save money on their out-of-pocket costs. My goal is to help you save money, and ensuring you’ve been charged a fair price is one of the ways to do it.