How To Negotiate A Hospital Bill
When you have to pay all or part of a hospital bill, you can negotiate the amount to pay. Hospitals are willing to negotiate because the rates they charge bear little relation to the cost of providing care . Typical markups range from 200 to 600 percent. A Time Magazine article from February 2013 provides details about the mark ups - and includes the following statement which is worth considering: ".... to the extent that most hospital administrators defend (ratesthat they charge people who are uninsured, "chargemaster rates") at all, they maintain that they are just starting points for a negotiation. But patients don’t typically know they are in a negotiation when they enter the hospital, nor do hospitals let them know that.:
According to a Harris Interactive poll, more than sixty percent of people who negotiate their medical bills get a discount.
If you are going to do the negotiating, take the following steps, each of which is described in another section of this article.
- Step 1. Do your homework
- Step 2. Find out who the decision maker is.
- Step 3. Consider the timing.
- Step 4. Think about what to say to convince the creditor to say "yes"
If negotiating is not one of your strengths, ask a friend or family member to do it for you. IIf you have one, ask your attorney and/or financial planner to negotiate for you. There are also companies that specialize in negotiating hospital bills in return for a payment of percentage of the savings. To learn about people and companies that specialize in negotiating medical bills, click here.
- There is no need to put up with aggressive collection efforts. For more information about your rights with respect to debt collectors, click here.
- If you have health insurance, but need a medical procedures that is not covered by your health insurance, let your doctor know before agreeing to the procedure that you are paying yourself, and that you want the lowest price because money is a concern.
- If you are experiencing a financial crunch of any kind, click here for tips for dealing with it.
- To learn how to review a hospital bill, click here.