Medical Bills • 3 minute read
Negotiating Medical Bills
By Mason Frenzel
Published by Ruby
Ruby's online tools and app helps you organize your medical bills and save money.
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Picture this: You open your mailbox to find an envelope sent by a healthcare provider after a recent medical procedure. When you open the envelope and see the bill inside, you are shocked by the large sum. Shouldn’t your insurance have covered more of the cost? And how will you pay the remaining amount? It is easy to become overwhelmed when facing a significant medical bill, but don’t lose hope.
While many assume that the price of medical treatment is fixed, you can actually negotiate with healthcare providers to find a price or payment plan that fits your financial situation. Instead of overpaying for medical treatment, you can proactively take steps to lower your debt as much as possible. Keep reading to learn how.
Believe it or not, you can negotiate almost any type of medical bill, including: doctors’ fees, hospital charges, lab work, and even dental treatment, according to thebalance. When in doubt, just ask!
There are a few strategies you can take when negotiating medical bills. Listed below are some you may want to try:
Ask ahead of time.
- If your treatment is scheduled in advance, you can ask your healthcare provider how much it should cost. You can then communicate this information with your insurance representative and learn to what extent the cost will be covered, helping you avoid surprises later.
- LendingTree suggests that if the out-of-pocket costs are more than you can afford, you might consider sharing your concerns with the hospital billing office. Not only are you more likely to establish rapport before your debt is overdue, but the billing office manager can assist you in making a payment plan or connect you with an assistance program.
Make a plan.
- Whether or not the healthcare provider agrees to lower the amount you owe, you may be able to negotiate a debt payment plan.
- According to MagnifyMoney, there are almost no requirements needed to qualify for hospital payment plans.
- Utilizing a payment plan provides more time to pay off your bill without harming your credit or bringing debt collectors into the mix.
- If possible, getting on an interest-free plan will save you from paying more money in the long run.
- It is a good idea to educate yourself on your insurance plan before negotiating with hospital billing offices. When you fully understand what your plan covers, you can have a more productive conversation with the individuals at the billing office.
- Requesting a Summary of Benefits and Coverage is a great way to learn about your individual insurance plan.
- It is important to keep a detailed record of your medical bill negotiations. Knowing who you spoke with and when can help later if your successful negotiation comes under scrutiny.
- Some healthcare providers offer a discount on treatment if patients pay for care upfront. While you forfeit the convenience of making smaller payments over a longer period, this strategy enables you to pay less in the long run.
Medical bills are rarely devoid of stress. Whether you’re a new parent and paying substantial medical bills for the first time, or you’ve been paying medical bills for years, navigating insurance coverage and the billing process can be challenging.
With Ruby’s soon to be released Medical Bill Manager app, you can simplify the process. Just take a picture of your bill with your phone and the Ruby app will identify potential errors that you might be overpaying for. We’ll even walk you through negotiating your bill or provide an expert to negotiate on your behalf to lower your cost and get you on a payment plan that works for you.
Click here for early access!