Thursday, December 04, 2008

Healthcare for Less?


Many of you probably agree that our healthcare industry is rather cumbersome and complicated. I mainly want to share what I have come across when dealing with your providers.



Let's start with pricing. Pricing is probably the one aspect that is most important in our everyday lives. We buy just about everything because of price. In the health care industry price is the most far away part of the process. Can you imagine if you wanted a heart transplant but you asked for the economy model that comes off the close-out shelf? We just wouldn't do that so we are kind of at the mercy of our providers to set the prices and have to deal with them as they come.



Or do we?



I found that you can actually deal with hospitals, doctors, and radiologists.  It seems there is a sliding scale when it comes to paying your bills.



So what can you do? Politely ask for a discount or a reduction even if services have been rendered. You can ask for payment plans. You can ask for programs that are in place to help people with their unexpected medical emergencies. I know that if you are a self-pay patient that even your personal doctor can give a discount. But ask politely and be in a place that you can accomplish what you are asking for. I bet the insurance companies always try to get the lower price in a claim.



Here's what I asked:  "I was just wondering if there was any kind of discount if I can pay this bill within the next 30 days?"



Even if you have a debt that can't be paid in 30 days,  it doesn't hurt to ask for a percentage reduction.  All they can say is no.  Be persistent, be polite.  Usually, the first person you speak to may not have the authority to give the discount, so ask for a supervisor.  Explain your situation, and let them know you are aware of the sliding scale on the bill. 



Side note:  Many Samaritan Ministry members use this service as a supplemental to their regular or company health insurace coverage.  It would cover whatever the insurance did not.  (EX: Your $100,000 bill is covered by your insurance for $70,000.  Samaritan would cover the remaining $30,000, minus the first $300.)



Were you aware that you could ask for a discount?



Have any other ideas that can be passed along?  We are all here to learn.


By the way, all but two of my bills were reduced, some as much as 40%. 








sulphur-springs-8-8-08-0432

Dirk





4 comments:

Nicole Knox said...

This is good stuff!!

Abbi said...

I'd love to talk about this as a part of our "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" meetings...when are we starting those, by the way?! :)

I'd love to know more, because once I no longer work for the church, Andrew and I won't have any 'official' company-sponsored insurance. (which, by the looks of things, may not be such a bad thing).

erin said...

Yes, I used this on my dentist just the other day. I just told him we didn't have dental insurance and asked to stay as minimal as possible. He ended up not even charging me for one of the procedures! It never hurts to ask!

Donna said...

Wow! I'm amazed! Good stuff there! I love the idea of using Samaritan Ministry as a supplement.