Asking For Money – Sometimes It Really Is That Simple

Asking For Money – Sometimes It Really Is That Simple

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Some may think the art of negotiation is dead, but it is still thriving. Just look at health insurance companies, for example.

When a medical office sends a bill to an insurance company, the insurance company negotiates an amount they will cover. The medical office knows when they send the bill that they will not be paid the amount they ask for.

However, the average person may not know this.

Hi. I do not have health insurance.

I did not know this when I received a bill for $1,600 after an emergency room visit. Not having health insurance at the time, I called the hospital billing department to set-up a payment plan, hoping that at the very least I could spread out the payments.

What the woman on the other end said blew me away.

She informed me that they have a financial assistance program for those without health insurance and she can immediately reduce the bill by 50% then set-up a payment plan for the remaining balance.

If my memory serves me correctly, I did not have to fill out any paperwork or anything like that. It really was that painless. And all I did was ask.

There is a lot of “free” money to be had out there, it does not hurt to ask. The worst they can say is no and then you’re just back to where you started.

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9 Replies to “Asking For Money – Sometimes It Really Is That Simple”

  1. Protip – ask for an itemized statement of your bill, and then ask to have someone review it for accuracy. Sometimes they’ll notice incorrect items and remove them, and sometimes they’ll mistakenly remove other items during the review as well – both of those things mean savings for YOU!

    I discovered this when I broke my ankle to the tune of $15k without insurance. :)

  2. I used to be so sheepish about asking for discounts and savings, but now that I’m “real-world” poor, I ask about every possible savings I could get–museums, movies, medical (though I haven’t been to the doctor in years). I care much more about saving money than I do potentially annoying people by asking for a discount.

  3. Health providers know that if they try to collect on the full amount, many will not be able to afford it, they won’t pay a thing, and the provider will be out the full amount. It’s in their best interests to negotiate. One thing you can often do is search for ‘medicare procedure rates’ and see if you can get any information specific to your state and the procedure you had. You can often use this as a starting point in negotiating with the hospital. Chances are even though they knocked your bill down by 50%, you still paid more than they would have gotten if you had been an insured patient, so there could be room for further savings in the future.

    1. Thanks for the detailed information! I am more knowledgeable now and would discuss a further reduction. At the time though (before my serious frugal days), I was just surprised at how easy it was to have it reduced by that much and did not want to push my luck.

  4. That’s really awesome that they lowered the payment for you. Huge in fact. I’m surprised by how painless it really seemed to be for you. Congrats!

  5. I’m really big on doing this, especially since for years I haven’t had medical. ( I do now but it will go away in August when I turn 26.) I’m usually able to save a significant amount when I can and it makes it easier on me.

  6. I’m from Canada.

    I was just reading through the comments – and was amazed it would cost $15k if you break your ankle. I can’t even imagine how much it would be for someone with a chronic illness… note to self: don’t move to the States.

  7. not having health insurance defines the phrase “penny wise and pound foolish” especially when its available through your employment.

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