Many people don’t realize that going to the doctor is a business transaction like any other. When you need a consultation or even a surgery, the medic will offer their services in exchange for your payment, and this makes it possible that there’ll be overcharges or inaccuracies that you should look out for, and even allows you to negotiate.
First of all, you must know exactly what your health insurance. When you do, you can make sure you make the most of it – failing to get a contracted rate for a surgery for instance, can cost you tens of thousands of dollars more than you should pay. When you need medical service, make sure to contact your insurance company so you can know whether they’ll help covering the costs or not. These prices are called “reasonable & customary.”
Then, you should always carefully examine all medical bills you receive. Human error is always a possibility, and happens quite commonly on medical bills – they often charge accidentally for services you didn’t use or overcharges for those you did. More rarely, you might even find a misplaced decimal point which can result in an enormous overcharge.
Keep in mind that it’s very hard to get your money back from a provider after you pay too much due to a mistake. In order to save time and trouble, it’s extremely important that you make sure everything is correct before paying it, so you won’t have any costly surprises later.
Another way to be frugal when going to the doctor is to make sure you always know all your options. When you find that you have a medical condition or need a certain medical procedure done, the provider will often offer you one specific option – the most common one, which can be often the most expensive. When you ask for alternatives, a less expensive option might show up.
When you receive the bill from your medical provider, you should get an EOB (Explanation Of Benefits) from your insurance company. These two documents should let you know exactly what you’re paying for and why. In order to cut your costs, you should always verify and understand every single item on the list – if there’s anything you don’t understand, make sure to ask for clarification.
Lastly, remember you can always simply ask for a better deal. If your insurance company doesn’t cover a certain procedure, for instance, there’s no shame in asking your provider if they could give you a discount to make the price closer to the contracted rate. Some providers even have specific discounts, such as offering a more affordable price when you pay in full right away.
Another possibility is checking for hospitals with a financial assistance program – which can get you a significantly reduced bill if you can prove your income is lower than a certain amount. If it’s really not possible to give you a discounted rate, you should ask if they can set up a monthly payment plan – without interest, of course – so you can at least divide the bill into installments.
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Here are some great tips to help you cut your out of pocket medical expenses!