Many people that are underinsured and don’t have means the means to pay their medical bills will normally try to deal with this debt using conventional debt relief methods such as debt consolidation, home equity loan or trying to settle their debt with the help of a debt specialists. Little do people know they can actually negotiate their medical bills. Did you know that insurance companies typically pay 60% less than individuals? If insurance companies can negotiate, there is no doubt that you can too. Just know that you will never get a discount if you don’t ask, sometimes it can be easy as simply asking, other times you may have to use your haggling skills a bit.
An important thing to realize if you cannot pay your medical debt and your debt ends up going into collections, the hospital or doctor will end up collecting much less than you actually owe. When your debt goes into collections they typically sell your debt to the collection agency for a fraction of the full value and whatever the collection agency collects above that amount, they get to keep as profit. The hospital or doctor would much rather get set an amount with you that you can pay rather than lose money by selling what you owe to a collection agency. Also, negotiating with the doctor’s office or hospital before the debt goes into collections will prevent you from dealing with harassing collection calls and problems with your credit score because of the debt going into collections.
People not getting up the confidence to ask for a lower price is the most common reason people do not negotiate medical debt. It is a fact that of the people that do ask for a lower amount, 70% actually do receive a lower bill amount. It is important to go out asking for the lower amount in a courteous manner. It may be difficult to ask a physician that you have a relationship with and you don’t want to hurt that relationship. You can start by talking with the billing office. The billing office sometimes will help you right away, other times you may have to escalate it to the doctor. Remember, doctors have gone through years of medical training and have likely been in debt or are still in debt and can see eye to eye with you.
When it comes to medical debt, negotiation is one of the most commonly overlooked solutions. This most overlooked solution is also the most effective way for decreasing medical debt amounts. Depending on policies, it may be extremely difficult or extremely hard to come to an agreement, but if you are persistent and understand that it is in the best interest of the hospital or the doctor to negotiate, you will be able to decrease your medical debt significantly.