Did you know that you, the patient, can also personally negotiate to lower your own medical charges?
Attorney Ortiz shares his advice:
"As part of my job as an attorney, I frequently negotiate medical bills upon settling a case or winning an award. Why? Well, the final monetary award must cover all medical charges and legal fees. The remaining amount is for the client to keep. Successful negotiation with medical providers means reduced charges, and reduced charges means more money in my client's pocket. I get reductions of 20, 30, or even up to 75% off the original amount. My clients are hard-working people, generally from the lower or middle class. Lately medical costs are increasing, and people shouldn't be burdened with high medical bills when there is a way to help lower them. I tell all my family and friends—just by picking up the phone, or writing to the hospital, you may be able to save a significant amount of money."
- Review the bill: It's a step many people decide to skip, but with a keen eye you can spot errors such as double charges, charges for services that were not rendered, and charges that simply don't make sense (i.e. $40 for gauze). Make sure to request the most recent bill, in itemized form. Make a note of the errors and opportunities for negotiation.
- Ask for a discount: It's as simple as that. Be sure to state a reason, and you may be surprised at their willingness to strike a deal with you.
- Find the Medicare rate: If you have Medicare, this tip alone can save you hundreds, even thousands, per bill. As a standard, Medicare and insurance companies negotiate for discounts, on average, of more than half of what providers charge. Ask to pay these rates.
- Compare charges: New advances in consumer rights has allowed for increased transparency regarding standardized rates for procedures. Call and search online for information on what other similar providers charge for the same or similar procedures.
- Communicate: At the end of the day, communication is key. Let your insurance provider, medical provider, and/or a Medicare representative know if you are struggling with your bill/s. Ask them to work with you to set up a manageable repayment plan.
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Written by DMM at the Law Offices of Hugo A. Ortiz.
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