The Finance Blogger

Negotiate your Health Bills While You are Still Healthy

Negotiate Your Health BillsIn our last post we wrote about the times to  negotiate your health bills and 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. We will discuss these in more detail in future posts as well.

Negotiate your Health Bills while you’re still healthy

Many people either do not have health insurance. Or they have coverage that is limited to specified procedures, tests and the kind of drugs that will be paid for as part of your health plan.  Either way you can end up with a huge bill if something requires you to receive treatment at a hospital or even in a doctor’s office.  While you do not want to risk your overall health there is a fine line between some of the actions that can be taken to diagnose and treat a patient.

If you are healthy and do not have any pre-existing conditions, now is the time to negotiate a health plan that will allow you to have relatively low premiums. Once you have some sort of health condition, one of two things are going to happen. Your premiums are going to go up or you will not be able to get coverage for health related issues. This latter situation can be very difficult since the bills you are going to pay will be astronomical.

We have heard that if you are broke, the hospitals cannot turn you away and will provide the care you need. We have also heard that if you have some money, whether it is a house or whatever, they will make you pay and will have nothing left after you are done. This may seem extreme, however if any readers can clarify this, we would love to hear about it.

Negotiate your Health Bills with the Health Provider

Advising the doctor that you do not have a health plan or a limited one can sometimes work in your favor. The doctor may discuss alternatives with you that might allow you to reduce the cost or eliminate then altogether.  Some examples include:

  • Tests that are nice to have for example may be deferred or eliminated.
  • Using brand name drugs for example can also decrease your overall costs.
  • Giving you options to consider regarding your diagnoses and treatment
  • Choosing treatment that your insurance company covers vs. those that it does not.

Do this while you are still healthy and before you head to the doctor’s office or off for more testing. As we mentioned there is a fine line to be considered. For example the difference in a brand name drug and a generic may not be that different chemically. But there can be  a huge difference in price. On the other hand a test to confirm a doctors diagnoses that mean the difference between life and death or perhaps a major operation is probably something you want to have done.

Collection Is Expensive

Discussing your situation up front with the doctor allows him to tailor his treatment around your financial needs. While at the same time allowing you to take part in the decision as well. Never place the decision entirely in the hands of the doctor or some insurance administrator. You will want to make sure that you understand the issues. Also understand the implications of proceeding or not with what ever is being considered.

In our next post we will discuss the next area of when it is time to negotiate your health bills. 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.

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One Response to “Negotiate your Health Bills While You are Still Healthy”

  1. Always negotiate health bills. the hospitals are interested in getting paid and they will almost always take less to receive cash.

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