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 Message Boards » » Negotiating Hospital Bills Page [1]  
BobbyDigital
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So, my wife took my daughter to the ER when she was crumpled in stomach pain a few weeks ago. Symptoms were presenting like appendicitis, but turned out to be a false alarm. got sent home with some pain meds and she was fine by the next day.

Got the bill today. With a HDHP, insurance payments/adjustments came out to a small portion of the bill and left me owing $2600. I can easily afford it, but it's absolutely insane for what was essentially 20min of time with clinical staff.

Anyone with insurance and without financial hardship had success in negotiating these down? I'm gonna give it a shot and see what happens.

Also, I've heard that if you pay like $10, they'll send you a new bill the next month, and you can essentially do that indefinitely as they can't charge interest, and won't send it to collections as long as you're paying something, which would allow me to kick this can down the road until some point in the future.

2/9/2016 1:50:48 PM

JP
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I don't have anything to add, but the health insurance business is certainly one thing I'll never understand and I HATE having to deal with. I try to put off going to the doctor as much as I can to avoid situations like this.

[Edited on February 9, 2016 at 1:55 PM. Reason : ]

2/9/2016 1:54:05 PM

dinamod
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My understanding is that if your health insurance paid any amount for the services, you cannot negotiate with the hospital at all. They hospital will claim that the price was already negotiated with the insurance company. If they change the price for your portion, the insurance company will want their portion of the bill lowered also.

2/9/2016 1:58:07 PM

wdprice3
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^Maybe, but with a HDHP, the insurance may not have paid anything, depending on your plan inclusions. If nothing was paid, you are still being billed the insurance-negotiated amounts; however, negotiating beyond this is still possible. Regardless, they will allow you to set up a payment plan. Some providers will still negotiate your due balance, even after insurance payments. I just did that with an anesthesiology bill.

[Edited on February 9, 2016 at 2:47 PM. Reason : .]

2/9/2016 2:22:06 PM

BobbyDigital
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I called the billing dept, and this hospital won't reduce a bill unless there's demonstrable financial distress, which i know we don't qualify for. But, they did have a payment plan that will let me pay it over 18 months, which means I don't have to go outside of our HSA-- so still better than dipping into post-tax money.

[Edited on February 9, 2016 at 2:51 PM. Reason : .]

2/9/2016 2:51:33 PM

TreeTwista10
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Thanks Obama

2/9/2016 3:04:37 PM

TKE-Teg
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It's almost like you want the problem to be appendicitis, because after it's removed you know it'll never be an issue again

Glad it's somewhat working out.

2/9/2016 3:09:06 PM

wdprice3
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that, and the rest of your year is nearly medical-expense free!

2/9/2016 3:25:15 PM

Dynasty2004
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Quote :
"Also, I've heard that if you pay like $10, they'll send you a new bill the next month, and you can essentially do that indefinitely as they can't charge interest, and won't send it to collections as long as you're paying something, which would allow me to kick this can down the road until some point in the future."


Yes, but you will carry a balance and it will become due or partially due if you need service.

2/9/2016 4:30:41 PM

Seotaji
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I had a similar incident with my son, a trip to the ER for a false alarm with a ~$2500 bill afterwards.

I called the billing department and asked what the cash discount price for the bill would be if I could pay in full now vs. a payment plan.

The cash discount price was around $400, vs. nothing for the payment plan.
----------

I was able to negotiate an ER bill for a family member from $1200 down to $200 just by asking about the cash discount price.

2/21/2016 12:38:18 PM

Darb5000
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WakeMed has typically offered us about a 10-15% discount for paying the remainder after insurance at once instead of setting up a payment plan.

2/22/2016 11:40:38 AM

synapse
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I had a $2500 bill at Duke (ER) turn into a $700 bill just by ignoring it for a year.

2/22/2016 4:40:16 PM

BridgetSPK
#1 Sir Purr Fan
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It's not even about dipping into funds. It's the principle.

Always take the payment plan. Make them wait as long as possible to finish the robbery.

2/27/2016 9:30:54 AM

GrimReap3r
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Quote :
"Always take the payment plan. Make them wait as long as possible to finish the robbery."

2/27/2016 7:19:08 PM

cyrion
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similar shit (kind of) happened to my gf. she went to the ER with extreme stomach pain and they did tons of test to tell her it was nothing. about a week later she went back with same issues and it was a partially obstructed bowel. and yet, they still charged her an ass ton for both visits.

seems to me, if you dont find the problem the first time and a second doc finds it in 5 minutes, you shouldn't charge full price for the first trip. ultimately she was able to drastically reduce the bill because she makes no money though. i still was a bit disappointed with the situation.

2/27/2016 11:40:48 PM

ssclark
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Quote :
" owing $2600"




doesn't seem unreasonable ...

my wife is a severe asthmatic. Had to go to the ER a few weeks ago for a nebulizer and prednisone so she could breath again, took maybe 15 minutes, and if I had the ability to just go get prednisone OTC, I could have cared for her myself ...

2100$.

This is American healthcare, a VAST majority of our country is one ICU stay from declaring bankruptcy. Yah it sucks to get the bill, but atleast my wife didn't die ?!

2/28/2016 11:45:20 AM

Wraith
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Kind of related. Got a bill from the hospital for $36,000 last month for my wife's endoscope. I laughed hard at that one. The "due date" was like a week after I got the bill. Like I was gonna be saying "oh sure, yeah let me just get my check book out and write a check for $36,000. I was gonna buy a new Tesla but oh well."

Turns out the insurance company completely fucked up a bunch of stuff and rather than anyone calling me first, both the hospital and the insurance company just decided to ignore it and hope I would pay. Only took me four days of yelling at them on the phone to get it sorted out!

2/29/2016 9:40:49 AM

darkone
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^ $36000! I'd want to keep the endoscope.

2/29/2016 11:53:10 AM

mattinthehat
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Dude, you're in med school, and you are advocating for the ability to get prednisone OTC? That's ridiculous.

3/6/2016 8:12:21 AM

hgtran
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Maybe go to urgent care, instead of the ER for minor things will save you some money.

3/6/2016 10:22:02 AM

NCSUStinger
SHIT YOUR PANTS
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I have the family plan health insurance at work, and my wife gets individual insurance for free

in theory this means she pays nothing most of the time for anything


in reality, both companies say "the other is primary, so we aren't paying"

EVERY GOD DAMN BILL


they do this until the dr office/hospital/etc gets mad and says we have to pay
then we call the dept of insurance and the always say my insurance is primary
call my insurance on the phone, talk really mean to them, and then they pay


my insurance has to know this is how its going to go, but every time any given
dr/hospital/etc gets their first visit of the year, this shit begins again


Thanks Obama

4/7/2016 10:35:01 PM

ctnz71
All American
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We are "uninsured" and had to admit the newborn for a respiratory virus... Because we are "uninsured" it's a 50% discount from the beginning.

6/12/2016 2:41:59 PM

synapse
play so hard
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^^ can't she just decline here free plan

6/12/2016 4:45:02 PM

NCSUStinger
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the idea is the the primary will pay the bill, and secondary will pay the copay (which is how it always ends)

but they basically have to have gladiatorial fight in the arena over every bill, even though the outcome is the same

6/13/2016 11:17:49 AM

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