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dex08
06-23-2011, 10:53 AM
DH recently had a series of medical tests which I thought were going to be covered by insurance with an amount greater than they were so we were faced with an unexpected medical bill. We have an emergency fund and could just pay off the entire bill at once, but it's always preferable not to take from it.

Yesterday I decided to call the hospital and ask if we could work out some kind of payment plan and right off the bat the billing agent said that they offer a discount to customers paying their bills and the % is based upon the total amount due. :yay: Right away she took off 15% of the total and then advised we could pay off our bill over 6 equal monthly payments with no interest!! This made the bill much more manageable so we don't have to take from our emergency fund.

It never hurts to ask!!

scrapquitler
06-23-2011, 10:59 AM
DH recently had a series of medical tests which I thought were going to be covered by insurance with an amount greater than they were so we were faced with an unexpected medical bill. We have an emergency fund and could just pay off the entire bill at once, but it's always preferable not to take from it.

Yesterday I decided to call the hospital and ask if we could work out some kind of payment plan and right off the bat the billing agent said that they offer a discount to customers paying their bills and the % is based upon the total amount due. :yay: Right away she took off 15% of the total and then advised we could pay off our bill over 6 equal monthly payments with no interest!! This made the bill much more manageable so we don't have to take from our emergency fund.

It never hurts to ask!!

:thumbsup2 In my experience, hospitals are almost always willing to work with you and make a payment plan, often with no interest. I think they are just grateful that people are paying so they are happy to get the money later rather than never.

PatMcDuck
06-23-2011, 12:51 PM
It is always worth ASKING for a reduction. One of my son's owed $$ for some bills for a surgery done in NYC. He lives at home, but he is not my dependent on my taxes (not a student, and he was about 22). He had been unemployed for most of the year, in construction with the union. Some doctors/hospitals reduce it to the rate they get from participating insurance companies. Other times he owed part of the balance, and they wrote it off. A few times he wrote a letter and even attached a copy of his latest tax return..... showing his low income situation. (he HAD good medical insurance from the union, but was hit with a few bills from either non-participating doctors that came thru as out-of-network. Anesthesia balances can be pretty high).

Other times I had success offering to pay the bill in full, for a discount. Then DS paid ME back the reduced amount over time.

Pakey
06-23-2011, 01:00 PM
I had an in-hospital biopsy and then major surgery last year and I had called the hospital to ask a question as soon as I got my insurance's EOB (the question had nothing to do with me paying my portion). The lady I spoke to whispered to me to call back when I got the actual bill from the hospital and ask for a discount. I got 15%.

This was quite different from five years when I had my first cancer surgery; the hospital wanted my portion up front at time of admission.

mrsbornkuntry
06-23-2011, 01:20 PM
Also, if you think you have overpaid or overbilled don't be afraid to call for clarification, pay attention to your EOBs. I took my DS to a dr. in March and they didn't file with my insurance until June. I paid $50 at the office, when I got my EOB it said I should have only paid $25 so I called the office and they are refunding the other $25. I will be doing something similar at another office tomorrow, they billed me $350 which was $85 more than I ended up owing.

*Seanaci*
06-23-2011, 01:25 PM
My sister has had entire bills written off due to her financial situation at the time. She's also had them write off a big portion and had to make payments on the rest.

It can never hurt to ask when you're paying bills. :D

akcire
06-23-2011, 02:23 PM
My hospital gives a 15% discount if your balance is under $1000, if over $1000 they will give 20% if you pay in full. They take credit cards so this is an awesome immediate discount, I put it on a credit card for the rewards, and then immediately pay the credit card balance.

(I know all the billing rules, I have had cancer, and a child via C-section).

Also most hospitals have an assistance policy which covers fairly high income levels. A neighbor of ours was once able to take advantage of that type of program, even with her very good medical coverage.

Piecey
06-23-2011, 02:27 PM
DH had a hernia repair last month. The hospital called and told me if I paid while he was in the OR, they'd offer us 25% off our OOP. They called insurance and got an estimate of our portion.

We paid. :)

Tinknalli
06-23-2011, 04:34 PM
Every hospital is different but most will certainly work with you. I work in hosital billing and we will take 20% off if you have not insurance. However if you have insurance we give no discounts. We will do payment plans with in minimum $25/mo payment and can spread payments over a 10 month period. We do not charge interest or service fees. We do collect copays up front. We do offer a generous free care program to patients who demonstrate financial need.

disfan07
06-23-2011, 07:06 PM
I know that our hospital gives a very generous discount (usually anywhere between 25-60% we've seen....depnds on the service) before they bill the insraunce company IF you have a praticipating insurance plan or if you are uninsured.

However, as far as we know, our hospital will not give you a discount on the part you owe UNLESS you exhibit financial need or you have extenuating circumstances. I don't necessarily like their policy because we rack up about $12,000-$15,000 in bills just from the hospital every year but we can "afford" it so we don't get assistance. We might get a payment plan (so far, knock on wood, we haven;t needed it), but we still have to pay in full. However, I understand why they have the policy.

The assistance is there for the people who really can't afford it. I understand why. Our hospital is a private non-profit hospital that exists basically on donations and grants. That money makes it possible for them to accept medicare, medi-cal and uninsured patients. The mission of the hospital has always been to be able to care for everyone who walks through those doors and they manage to do it. If you can pay, you pay. It sucks, but until the health insurance system changes, it is what it is.

Judyat
06-23-2011, 07:18 PM
Gee it's nice that hospitals give you 15% off and no interest for 6 months but it would be better if you got the same discount that health insurance companies get. The difference can often be at least 50% and for doctors the discount can be more than that. Why do health insurance companies get the big discounts and individuals get little ones. Gee I wonder. Until health care is taken out of the hands of private companies costs will keep rising. No controls and the sky is the limit.

Cin
06-23-2011, 07:36 PM
How fortunate for you! I have never gotten discount and the only time I ever heard of it (and I have worked for hospitals >20 years) is when you are in arrears and they are trying to collect and will settle for less than the original amount and write off the rest. In fact I even brought this up in a town hall meeting with the CEO and wanted to know why I didn't/couldn't receive a discount on the same services since I was a paying on time and supposedly "valued" customer? Anyway, that's awesome that you got a discount!

Firefly09
06-24-2011, 12:24 AM
Gee it's nice that hospitals give you 15% off and no interest for 6 months but it would be better if you got the same discount that health insurance companies get. The difference can often be at least 50% and for doctors the discount can be more than that. Why do health insurance companies get the big discounts and individuals get little ones. Gee I wonder. Until health care is taken out of the hands of private companies costs will keep rising. No controls and the sky is the limit.

I wouldn't exactly call that a discount. It's tightly negotiated with insurance companies and please believe that hospitals and physicians work hard to make sure they get compensated at a somewhat reasonable rate. It may seem like insurance companies get a "discount" is because in order to be paid some semblance of what is owed hospitals and physicians have to charge more, knowing that insurance companies will only pay 30-50% of what they are billed. Plus, doctors and hospitals have to hire special employees whose sole job is to deal with submitting paperwork to insurance and make sure proper payments are received. Working with insurance is a necessary evil for healthcare providers because otherwise they would be considered "out of network" and then it rests on the patient to pay the bill which likely means even less payment will be received.

If more people paid cash for their healthcare services instead of relying on insurance, healthcare costs should come down overall and for many reasons. 1. instead of paying for insurance premiums to line the pockets of CEOs and still being denied for tests you need you can pay for and get those tests
2. healthcare costs would not be fixed due to super secret contracts with health insurance companies and instead can change with supply and demand
3. instead of running to the ER or doctor's office for every sniffle and cough, consumers would give greater consideration as to whether they need to be seen right away or wait and see if they improve with time
4. hospitals and physicians would be more willing to perform charity work when they are appropriately compensated for their work otherwise

Insurance needs to be used as it was intended: emergencies, hospitalizations, surgeries, life saving procedures, etc.

aprilgail2
06-24-2011, 06:45 AM
When my godson pased away we still owed the hospital about 30,000.00 after insurance- I offered them 10,000 on the spot to settle it and they took it.

Swimalie
06-24-2011, 08:00 AM
We have horrible dental insurance. My dentist knows this and will give us 10% off everything. It's nice when people help others out like that :)

Alison Wunderland
06-24-2011, 09:44 AM
Labcorp was excellent about providing me with a discount as well. I wasn't expecting one but I was told I would get one when I applied for the payment plan. I had over $2000 in labwork from prenatal testing that insurance wouldn't cover. I ended up only having to pay back half.

lillygator
06-24-2011, 10:00 AM
Gee it's nice that hospitals give you 15% off and no interest for 6 months but it would be better if you got the same discount that health insurance companies get. The difference can often be at least 50% and for doctors the discount can be more than that. Why do health insurance companies get the big discounts and individuals get little ones. Gee I wonder. Until health care is taken out of the hands of private companies costs will keep rising. No controls and the sky is the limit.
seriously?
ugh not worth it....but you really have no clue what you are talking about.

malibuconlee
06-24-2011, 10:13 AM
It is always worth ASKING for a reduction. One of my son's owed $$ for some bills for a surgery done in NYC. He lives at home, but he is not my dependent on my taxes (not a student, and he was about 22). He had been unemployed for most of the year, in construction with the union. Some doctors/hospitals reduce it to the rate they get from participating insurance companies. Other times he owed part of the balance, and they wrote it off. A few times he wrote a letter and even attached a copy of his latest tax return..... showing his low income situation. (he HAD good medical insurance from the union, but was hit with a few bills from either non-participating doctors that came thru as out-of-network. Anesthesia balances can be pretty high).

Other times I had success offering to pay the bill in full, for a discount. Then DS paid ME back the reduced amount over time.

Just an FYI...for in the future, if he was at an "in-network" hospital and they process the anesthesia as "out of network" call and inform them it was an in-network hospital. This happened with my c-section. Only one anesthesia practice in town and they had no agreement with the insurance co. It was re-processed as in-network. We just didn't get any sort of discounted rate. However it didn't go toward my out of network deductible and co-pay.

OrangeCountyCommuter
06-24-2011, 10:39 AM
Well this is interesting... I certainly hope the insurance companies are not reading it LOL!

I work in healthcare. Almost EVERY contract a hospital has with the providers would allow them to say "if you took x% off the deductible then we are entitled to the same discount" Which is why a lot of hospitals won't do a discount on deductibles and copays...

However, it is ALWAYS better to contact them and work with them. Hospitals don't want to pay a collection agency to hound you :) If you don't have insurance ask for a big discount comparable to what they give the companies. Often you will get it IF you can pay upfront. If you are planning to pay over the next 10 years no deal. (that's one of the reasons the insurance companies get discounts they actually PAY! You would be amazed at folks who first want a 50% discount and then don't bother to send any cash!! LOL!) (And amazingly IMHO not for profits are harder to work with then for profit hospitals. I had to go to war with the local Catholic hospital over my mother's bill, but the other part of her treatment at a "for profit" was billed right and they were great to deal with ... go figure!)

Piecey
06-24-2011, 02:45 PM
Just an FYI...for in the future, if he was at an "in-network" hospital and they process the anesthesia as "out of network" call and inform them it was an in-network hospital. This happened with my c-section. Only one anesthesia practice in town and they had no agreement with the insurance co. It was re-processed as in-network. We just didn't get any sort of discounted rate. However it didn't go toward my out of network deductible and co-pay.

I have to do that all the time! The radiologists are out of network but since they're at in-network hospital, they're covered at in-network rates. They bill lower than allowable, and my maternity was covered 100%, so we never paid... but I always had to make that extra phone call.

Ditto on the anesthesia on my c-section except they billed $132 over. I had to pay that $132 but nothing else because it was paid as if they were in-network.

:thumbsup2



Well this is interesting... I certainly hope the insurance companies are not reading it LOL!

I work in healthcare. Almost EVERY contract a hospital has with the providers would allow them to say "if you took x% off the deductible then we are entitled to the same discount" Which is why a lot of hospitals won't do a discount on deductibles and copays...

However, it is ALWAYS better to contact them and work with them. Hospitals don't want to pay a collection agency to hound you :) If you don't have insurance ask for a big discount comparable to what they give the companies. Often you will get it IF you can pay upfront. If you are planning to pay over the next 10 years no deal. (that's one of the reasons the insurance companies get discounts they actually PAY! You would be amazed at folks who first want a 50% discount and then don't bother to send any cash!! LOL!) (And amazingly IMHO not for profits are harder to work with then for profit hospitals. I had to go to war with the local Catholic hospital over my mother's bill, but the other part of her treatment at a "for profit" was billed right and they were great to deal with ... go figure!)


I honestly didn't think it was legal for the hospital to discount 25% off our copay but I asked around and found out it's legal and common here. :confused3

We waaaay overpaid (when they called to get insurance info we hadn't hit our deductible yet but something cleared before DH's surgery so we'd hit by the time they billed)... so I'm really hoping I'm not going to have issues getting the difference back. I can so see them saying "well, this is what your insurance says you owe" :sad2: and not giving us the 25% discount anymore since we've already paid. gr.

jmkst58
06-24-2011, 03:17 PM
Just an FYI...for in the future, if he was at an "in-network" hospital and they process the anesthesia as "out of network" call and inform them it was an in-network hospital. This happened with my c-section. Only one anesthesia practice in town and they had no agreement with the insurance co. It was re-processed as in-network. We just didn't get any sort of discounted rate. However it didn't go toward my out of network deductible and co-pay.

THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED TO ME. my anesthesia was first processed 'out of network' so they billed me like $400- and I paid quickly---- DUMB!!!!!! because then I called my insurance company and asked why it was processed 'out of network' and the insurance company fixed it!!!

BUT!!!!!!!!! the anesthesia office has not refunded me the difference yet!!:scared1::scared1:

THIS HAS BEEN ALMOST A YEAR NOW. :eek::eek: i have wrote them twice and documented that. what else can i do? i want my money back. they haven't responded with ANYTHING. what would you do if you were me?

Piecey
06-24-2011, 04:38 PM
hm. Someone it double posted an hour later, hah.

PHXscuba
06-24-2011, 06:38 PM
The "out-of-network anesthesiologist" seems to be a very common glitch. DH was having back surgery and everyone else -- the doctor, the surgery center, etc. was on our very-common insurance, but none of the three anesth. were (I'm not sure they take any insurance). After the dust settled, I called the office to work with them and they settled for the amount our insurance would pay for out-of-network.

After going through the system several times, I've learned that being your own advocate and spending a lot of time on the phone resolving claims can save hundreds or thousands of dollars.

PHXscuba