Believe it or not, you can actually negotiate with doctors for a lower price! Including for major surgery or other expensive procedures. This may sound like something out of the nineteenth century, but it’s actually surprisingly successful.
A Harris poll found that 61% of patients who negotiated with a doctor ended up with a lower fee. But the same survey found that only 12% of people have ever even tried to negotiate. Bottom line: the squeaky wheel gets the grease, so speak up and there’s a good chance you can save some money.
Save BIG Money on Medical Expenses
by Understanding the System Better
We bring this up because Obamacare is a harbinger of mounting political control and influence over medical decisions by patients and their doctors. Most Americans take easy access to high quality medical care for granted. But as blunderbuss government involvement grows, this is rapidly changing. It is IMPERATIVE you learn about your full range of options for greater medical self-reliance.
What better way to become medically self-reliant than by naming your own cost?
First, the easiest way to save money at the doctor’s office is by using a physician in your provider network. Most health care providers offer dense books that list all the doctors in their network. You can also find most of this information online by visiting your health care company’s website.
Whatever doctor you’re using, be sure to ask for a price up front. Ideally you should call both the doctor’s office and your health insurance company in advance to determine what the price will be. Then you can figure out how much you want to try to talk down the price. Don’t be timid in going after a discount. Michelle K., now a medical consultant, was injured in a car accident. She negotiated a $28,000 medical bill down to less than half. Indeed, a little hard-nosed negotiation can go a long way.
Cut Out the Medical Paperwork for Your Doctor
and Reap Big Rewards
One key to successful negotiation is offering to pay up front and in cash. “Cash is king,” as the saying goes. Doctors spend thousands of dollars chasing down fees from those who try to skip out on their bills.
As the practice of medicine is increasingly slammed with a blizzard of expensive, senseless paperwork, a patient who pays cash up front will be a breath of fresh air for many doctors’ offices. This is a huge bargaining chip and will give you an immediate advantage.
If you’re having trouble deciding on a comfortable price, consider asking for the Medicare rate. Doctors generally discount their prices significantly for Medicare patients and, with cash in your hand, they may be willing to accommodate you as well. (Bear in mind that this is only useful for more advanced procedures. You won’t save much on a single trip to the doctor’s office.)
Surprising Resources Exist to Negotiate
a Great Price for Your Medical Care!
To determine the Medicare rate, ask your doctor for the Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes for your procedure. Then either call up or visit the website of the American Medical Association. With the five-digit code in hand, you should be able to obtain the Medicare price.
Another valuable resource for negotiating with doctors is HealthcareBlueBook.com
. This handy website was created specifically for patients looking to negotiate with doctors. With your CPT code in hand, visit their website and submit a request. Healthcare Blue Book will recommend a fair price based on the actual cost of the procedure in question.
Once you decide on a fair price, start calling nearby providers in your insurance network. Ask for someone who can discuss pricing. Tell the person immediately you are willing to pay cash upfront, then name your fair price. Most pricing agents are familiar with these requests – and most are willing to provide a discount for those willing to pay immediately.
Your fair price may be agreed to on the spot. If not, be kind but firm throughout the negotiation and try to talk down the price as much as possible. Don’t be afraid to ask for a boss either. It may seem a little intimidating, but you have absolutely nothing to lose except an over-inflated bill.
Negotiating a Good Price
Must Include a Quality Control Check
on Your Doctor
Be sure to shop around and try negotiating with several providers in your network. Pick the one with the lowest price, so long as that doctor holds up on a background check.
After a successful negotiation, make sure you get a copy of the price in either writing from the care provider. Only then should you proceed with treatment. Alternatively, HealthcareBlueBook.com also provides a free pricing agreement that the provider can sign.