The Finance Blogger


Negotiate Your Health Bills – When you are caught between doctor and health plan

Negotiate Your Health BillsIn a previous post we wrote about the best times to  negotiate your health bills. We felt that some more detail behind each suggestion was warranted. The first one was Negotiate while you’re still healthy!  The others included – At the time you get a big bill; If you are suffering the results of a medical error; When you are caught between doctor and health plan; and Planning an elective procedure. Always negotiate or at least attempt to. You never know how much you will save in your health costs for whatever procedure that you are having. We will discuss these in in more detail in future posts as well.

Negotiate Your Health Bills When you are caught between doctor and health plan

One of the reasons we are writing about this subject is that it happened to us. Fortunately it was not a large amount, however it really took a lot of time. I finally had to intervene to get the issue going. The collection process had stalled. The doctor had referred his bill to a collection agency. We were beginning to get harassing calls from a collection agency.

In brief what occurred was that we visited a hospital. I had several tests and was seen by a doctor. All of the health information was provided upon check in to the emergency clinic. We were assured that there would be no billing issues. We would not need to pay any upfront charges. The clerk failed to pass this information onto the x-ay technician’s office which operates as a separate agency within the hospital. When he was not being paid, he routinely referred the collection of the payment he was due to a collection agency. It went downhill from there. The entire problem began because of a lack of communications within the hospital.

They were not talking to the health insurance company who was more than willing to pay the fee. When I provided  the information to the collections agency after several nasty calls, they refused to speak to the health insurance company. The health insurance company also refused to talk to the collection agency siting information privacy issues.

Resolving Your Health Bill

The only way out this was for me to persuade both parties to come on the phone with me at the same time in a conference call. I introduced them to each other and verbally give them permission to exchange information and tell them to solve the problem. Once this was done the collection agency was willing to provide copies of the invoice to the health insurance company. They could verify the bill and confirm they had not already paid the invoice. I guess there is also a lot of fraud and both parties needed to make sure that there was no fraud involved and that my private information was also protected.

Six months later, after we had visited the hospital, this bill finally got paid after a lot of discussion and lost time. Also the health insurance company negotiated a reduction. The collection agency took it’s share and the doctor might have been paid 30 cents on the dollar. All because the hospital administration failed to provide the correct information to the company who provides x-ray services to the hospital!

By the way, the amount of the invoice was only $178! Can you believe it, all that lost time for a paltry $178! All parties lost money on this issue just due to the time that was spent on collection and clarifying the matter.

In our next post we will discuss the next area of when it is time to negotiate your health bills and planning an elective procedure. Readers are encouraged to provide comments. Well written comments that are informational and helpful to our readers will be approved including links back to your own site.

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One Response to “Negotiate Your Health Bills – When you are caught between doctor and health plan”

  1. We have saved thousands of dollars by negotiating with the hospital. Always negotiate!

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