Successfully Negotiating Your Medical Bills
Every day there are literally thousands of Americans who struggle to pay medical bills. Some simply give up in frustration. However, ignoring your debt is not considered a solution – and it can oftentimes make the situation worse overall.
One potential solution to easing your medical debt obligation is to negotiate with your medical service provider. While the negotiating process is not considered easy, the good news is that, according to a recent study, more than 65 percent of those who have negotiated their medical bills with doctors have succeeded, and another 70 percent of individuals won after negotiating their bills with a hospital.
If you are considering negotiating your medical debt, here are a few tips that may help the process move along more smoothly:
- Analyze your amount that is due. When receiving any type of bill – and especially medical expenses – be sure that you go through it line by line. Billing errors are quite common in the medical field, so don’t automatically assume that you owe the amount stated. One common way to prove an incorrect amount is to check the date that a procedure supposedly took place in order to determine if you even received services on that particular day.
- Be friendly to the billing department representatives. Although you may be frustrated, it is always best to remain calm and friendly with the representatives that you speak with. Just like the old saying goes, “You always attract more bees with honey.”
- Come to terms on a payment plan. Sending your account to a collection agency – or writing off your bill completely – costs medical service providers time and money. Therefore, a win-win situation could be established if you and they are able to agree on a payment plan. When doing so, however, be sure that the payment amount and the time frame are comfortable for you. Otherwise, you will be right back in the same boat in the future. When making payments, you should also request receipts from the provider’s billing department as proof that payments are being made.
- Work with a health care advocate. With a health care advocate on your side, you will be working with someone who is very familiar with all of the ins and outs of the medical billing arena. These individuals are also familiar with the law, and can guide you with the best course of action for your specific situation.
Although it is likely that you will meet with at least some success when negotiating your medical bills, it is important to also keep in mind that your situation won’t turn around overnight. Given this possibility, be sure than you remain patient when moving through the negotiation process. And, the earlier you begin your negotiations, the better the result is apt to be.
For more information, visit Navidebt.org, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping those in need to reduce their medical debt.