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Old 03-17-2013, 02:17 PM
 
Location: West Palm Beach, FL
1,457 posts, read 3,774,898 times
Reputation: 1472

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Back in January my husband had a heart attack. He had a stent put in and stayed in the hospital 2 nights. He's doing fine now. He had no insurance. The hospital bill came, and they actually gave us a much more discount than I thought they would. We are still going over that itemized bill, but I believe we will get a little more knocked off. I don't think I'll have a problem negotiating with them.

The problem I'm having is with all the other bills coming from the other doctors, labs and such. I think only 3 of them so far has even offered a discount, and 2 of them were under $50. I spoke to 2 others myself so far, they both insisted they don't offer discounts. The one when I brought it up to them about the hospitals uninsured discount, she said they do have a hardship application they could send me. Either they'll give me a discount then or they'll let us make payments. The other place didn't budge on any discount. That place is just the billing company for the doctors office too, so I was even thinking of calling the doctors office directly and seeing if they can offer the discount instead of their billing company.

Does anyone know if there is anything I should specifically be asking for, or saying to these companies to try and get some sort of discount so I don't have to pay full price? I will absolutely pay my debts. I will not claim bankruptcy. I just want some sort of discount. Am I expecting too much, or do I really have to pay full price on these bills? From what I've read on the internet I should be able to get discounts, but it isn't happening very well.

Any advice is greatly appreciated!
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Old 03-17-2013, 02:48 PM
 
Location: Islip,NY
19,156 posts, read 24,245,086 times
Reputation: 21054
What I do is see if they can put me on payment plan, I am paying off a $150 ER visit from last June. I pay $10.00 a month. I have insurance now but did not have insurance at the time I rec'd the bill becuase hubby was let go from his job, now that he has a new job we have coverage again. We were without coverage for 5 months.
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Old 03-17-2013, 03:47 PM
 
Location: Alexandria, VA
13,085 posts, read 23,477,922 times
Reputation: 20647
Unfortunately, it's up to the Dr./facility to offer any type of discount - if you've spoken to some and they won't, I'm afraid you're stuck - try to work out a monthly payment plan.

Quote:
Originally Posted by flkingfan View Post
Back in January my husband had a heart attack. He had a stent put in and stayed in the hospital 2 nights. He's doing fine now. He had no insurance. The hospital bill came, and they actually gave us a much more discount than I thought they would. We are still going over that itemized bill, but I believe we will get a little more knocked off. I don't think I'll have a problem negotiating with them.

The problem I'm having is with all the other bills coming from the other doctors, labs and such. I think only 3 of them so far has even offered a discount, and 2 of them were under $50. I spoke to 2 others myself so far, they both insisted they don't offer discounts. The one when I brought it up to them about the hospitals uninsured discount, she said they do have a hardship application they could send me. Either they'll give me a discount then or they'll let us make payments. The other place didn't budge on any discount. That place is just the billing company for the doctors office too, so I was even thinking of calling the doctors office directly and seeing if they can offer the discount instead of their billing company.

Does anyone know if there is anything I should specifically be asking for, or saying to these companies to try and get some sort of discount so I don't have to pay full price? I will absolutely pay my debts. I will not claim bankruptcy. I just want some sort of discount. Am I expecting too much, or do I really have to pay full price on these bills? From what I've read on the internet I should be able to get discounts, but it isn't happening very well.

Any advice is greatly appreciated!
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Old 03-17-2013, 03:52 PM
 
Location: Georgia, USA
33,515 posts, read 35,097,171 times
Reputation: 40044
Quote:
Originally Posted by flkingfan View Post
Back in January my husband had a heart attack. He had a stent put in and stayed in the hospital 2 nights. He's doing fine now. He had no insurance. The hospital bill came, and they actually gave us a much more discount than I thought they would. We are still going over that itemized bill, but I believe we will get a little more knocked off. I don't think I'll have a problem negotiating with them.

The problem I'm having is with all the other bills coming from the other doctors, labs and such. I think only 3 of them so far has even offered a discount, and 2 of them were under $50. I spoke to 2 others myself so far, they both insisted they don't offer discounts. The one when I brought it up to them about the hospitals uninsured discount, she said they do have a hardship application they could send me. Either they'll give me a discount then or they'll let us make payments. The other place didn't budge on any discount. That place is just the billing company for the doctors office too, so I was even thinking of calling the doctors office directly and seeing if they can offer the discount instead of their billing company.

Does anyone know if there is anything I should specifically be asking for, or saying to these companies to try and get some sort of discount so I don't have to pay full price? I will absolutely pay my debts. I will not claim bankruptcy. I just want some sort of discount. Am I expecting too much, or do I really have to pay full price on these bills? From what I've read on the internet I should be able to get discounts, but it isn't happening very well.

Any advice is greatly appreciated!
Do contact the doctors individually. Ask if they will accept what they would expect to have received from an insured patient (total from the insurance company and the insured patient) and if you can set up a payment plan.

It is not unreasonable to have to document that full payment would be a financial hardship, but some docs will not even ask you to do that. Many just want to see you make an effort to work out a compromise.
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Old 03-17-2013, 04:06 PM
 
Location: Mostly in my head
19,859 posts, read 61,449,959 times
Reputation: 19280
Many will offer up to 25% discount if you pay on the spot - cash or credit card. Also look into the Care Card, a credit card for medical bills.
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Old 03-17-2013, 04:27 PM
 
Location: West Palm Beach, FL
1,457 posts, read 3,774,898 times
Reputation: 1472
Thanks for all the replies! Thankfully so far they are all letting us set up a payment plan, and so far interest free which is fantastic. I was just hoping that they would be more willing to offer some sort of discount. One place I told them if they matched the hospitals uninsured discount, I would find the money to pay their bill in full, but they wouldn't. Trying to give them an incentive to give me a discount if I paid it in full I thought might work.

The one place that wouldn't budge, I told them I could give them $20 a month for now, they immediately said we can't accept that and that I had to call back and speak to a manager during regular business hours. So I called back the next day, asked about a discount again, declined again, they asked me what I wanted to pay a month, I told them. They said the least I could pay was $20.86 a month. After talking to that one company I was already frustrated.

The worse part is I know I don't have nearly all the bills in yet. My husband thinks we do, but I told him he's dreaming.
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Old 03-17-2013, 05:56 PM
 
Location: Alexandria, VA
13,085 posts, read 23,477,922 times
Reputation: 20647
It does stink that insurance companies (who make big bucks) get big discounts and those that are uninsured get screwed Good luck.
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Old 03-17-2013, 10:29 PM
 
16,481 posts, read 22,872,019 times
Reputation: 16283
I have never heard of bargaining for my medical costs. Of course it is great if they will lower costs, I just never heard of anyone doing that. It is always frustrating when you think you know all the charges and then something else come in. I know there is sometimes the hospital bill, pharmacy, physician, labs, anethesia, x-ray, the doctor for the anethia, and the cost of any other doctor that may have been involved.
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Old 03-18-2013, 03:57 PM
 
Location: Cartersville, GA
1,263 posts, read 3,225,253 times
Reputation: 1118
There are some advocacy organizations out there that can help to negotiate a medical bill.
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Old 03-18-2013, 07:44 PM
 
Location: In a house
13,251 posts, read 40,142,887 times
Reputation: 20198
Quote:
Originally Posted by brokencrayola View Post
I have never heard of bargaining for my medical costs. Of course it is great if they will lower costs, I just never heard of anyone doing that. It is always frustrating when you think you know all the charges and then something else come in. I know there is sometimes the hospital bill, pharmacy, physician, labs, anethesia, x-ray, the doctor for the anethia, and the cost of any other doctor that may have been involved.
I negotiated with my dentist for a pretty significant amount of work that needed to be done. Granted, they didn't have a lot of wiggle room; the faciilty still needs its rent paid, the employees need their paycheck, the dentist has to get paid, the utility bills have to get paid, and giving me dental care pays some of that. Giving all their other patients dental care pays for some of it.

I expect the dental office to do better than a minimum-wage job; therefore I'm prepared to pay more than a minimum-wage fee. But it was pretty hard to swallow the amount they quoted, so I asked if they could look into my insurance, even though -none- of the work was covered.

Lo and behold, they discovered that since they're in-network, they still are obligated to charge no more than the maximum the insurance company's fee schedules allowed (since there are some plans that DO cover this stuff; mine just happened to be one of the many that didn't). And it turned out, three parts of the procedure had lower costs than what they were going to charge me. So they lowered those, and gave me a freebie on a different, purely aesthetic service that wasn't part of the treatment plan (zoom whitening on my lower teeth). They also didn't charge me for around half the x-rays they took, even though technically they were entitled to do so.
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