Anything that requires medical treatment can be stressful. If you add in the stress of the financial burden that medical bills can take, it can become a bit overwhelming. You do not have to panic about how to pay for medical bills. Whether you have medical insurance or if you are paying on your own, many care providers offer options for payment beyond what you might expect. Pick up the phone, do some research, and then calmly contact your care provider and see what they can do for you to make paying your medical bills easier.
Once you have determined the type of medical care that you need, it’s time to call some competing facilities and learn what they charge for the procedures and services you will be having. If you haven’t had the medical service yet, sometimes you can get a lower rate by going with a different provider or hospital. Even if you’ve already had the medical procedures you need, you can still compare what is stated on your medical bills with other provider’s rates. It’s always a good idea to go through each and every statement from a care provider in detail to evaluate the charges. It’s not uncommon for mistakes to be made, so be sure to carefully evaluate your bills. If you are paying without insurance, make sure you note the cash price because many medical providers offer a steep discount if you are paying cash. This is because they save the time and hassle of having to be paid through insurance. Take detailed notes, because you will use them when the time comes to negotiate with your care provider.
Once you have completed your research, it is time to negotiate. Make sure you have your notes ready when you make the call to your care provider’s billing department. Explain that you want to negotiate the charges because you may need to speak with a manager. If the first person you speak with says that you are not able to negotiate the charges, immediately ask for their manager or supervisor. Keep requesting someone in the next level of management until you find someone willing to work with you. Being firm, but remaining kind throughout the process will help.
Once you get the initial charges lowered through successful negotiations, your balance may still be too much to pay at one time. Offer to pay them an agreed upon amount every month until your balance is gone. Keep in mind that what you think is a fair monthly payment may not be what the care provider thinks is reasonable, so be prepared to negotiate again. If you cannot get them to agree to a monthly payment that is reasonable for you, it may be time to explain your hardship in detail. It is usually best to keep emotion and excuses out of the negotiation process, but if the process has stalled, an explanation of your financial status can help break through the wall.
When you are trying to figure out how to pay for medical bills, using these tools can help you minimize your healthcare expenses and make the bills a lot less forbidding. The old adage of “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” definitely holds true, and in this case it can save you a lot of money.
If you are experiencing financial difficulty and are looking for a solution, non-profit credit counseling can help you make sense of all your options. Contact us today for a free financial assessment with one of our certified credit counselors.
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Consumer Education Services, Inc. (CESI) is a non-profit service provider of comprehensive personal financial education and solutions for all life stages and for all of life’s milestones. Our goal is enhanced economic security for everyone we serve.
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