Author Topic: In need of a hostage negotiator  (Read 4357 times)

k-vette

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In need of a hostage negotiator
« on: April 23, 2014, 08:28:41 AM »
Did I get your attention?  Ok, well I do need some negotiating advice....

My wife had an emergency room visit the other week.  We were there from 12 to about 3am.  Although she was in enough pain to warrant the visit, it subsided quickly with heavy pain medication and turned out to be a non-serious issue. No further treatment will be needed.

I havent received the hospital bill yet, but I did receive an insurance statement.  What was the cost of our 3 hour visit?  Over 5k out of our pocket.  More than $4,000 is for a ct scan.

I found ynab last year and mmm about 6 months ago.  Since then we've accomplished a lot.  Cut off all credit card debt, increased savings, etc.  The emergency fund is not built up enough to cover this yet.  We have money in the bank, but its set aside for other things.  I was going to have everything covered one month in advance by next week!

Any tips on negotiating a lower amount with the hospital?
« Last Edit: April 23, 2014, 08:30:15 AM by k-vette »

GoldenStache

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Re: In need of a hostage negotiator
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2014, 08:31:54 AM »
Do you have a $6k deductible?

k-vette

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Re: In need of a hostage negotiator
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2014, 08:47:36 AM »
5k with a $6,350 out of pocket max.

frugalmom

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Re: In need of a hostage negotiator
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2014, 08:47:54 AM »
Did I get your attention?  Ok, well I do need some negotiating advice....

My wife had an emergency room visit the other week.  We were there from 12 to about 3am.  Although she was in enough pain to warrant the visit, it subsided quickly with heavy pain medication and turned out to be a non-serious issue. No further treatment will be needed.

I havent received the hospital bill yet, but I did receive an insurance statement.  What was the cost of our 3 hour visit?  Over 5k out of our pocket.  More than $4,000 is for a ct scan.

I found ynab last year and mmm about 6 months ago.  Since then we've accomplished a lot.  Cut off all credit card debt, increased savings, etc.  The emergency fund is not built up enough to cover this yet.  We have money in the bank, but its set aside for other things.  I was going to have everything covered one month in advance by next week!

Any tips on negotiating a lower amount with the hospital?

Every hospital is a bit different.  Also ACA has had many hospitals revisit their policies, unfortunately.

That said, ask for a paid in full discount.  Typically by me this would result in an immediate reduction of 15-20% Which I then put on a credit card for the miles

Alternatively depending on your income you may qualify for part or full charity.  I know at my most frequent hospital the charity income for a family of 2 is under $75,000 to be considered.  We now have another person and a significantly higher income so we never did get charity, but the hospital people were very nice about the situation. 

Finally, they will almost always offer an interest free payment plan.  I just started one last month.  Not because I didn't have the money, but because my daugther's most recent ER visit (febrile seizure) had us in a new hospital on New Years Day without a pediatrician.  Let's just say the ER doc was very nice, but not very knowledgeable and ended up doing lots of crazy stuff.  Our pediatrician visit the next day was hilarious as I brought in the test results.  At one point I even paged our pediatrician from the ER to talk to the ER doc; yes it was that bad.  Once I got the bill, I asked for a discount.  They said no.  I said fine set up a payment plan.   At $10 a month that $1400 bill is going to take a long time.  I loaded them in bill pay.  Eventually I'll get sick of the $10 debits and send them payment in full.  I just know how much checks cost to process and they angered me.  The care my daughter received was subpar and the customer service from the financial accounts department was too.  Apologies are worthless, so hurting them financially is my only option. 

As long as you speak nicely to them the financial accounts people are happy to talk and give you all your options.  If you are a screamer, don't bother to call.


Weedy Acres

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Re: In need of a hostage negotiator
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2014, 11:56:36 AM »
It sounds to me like the insurance company didn't process the claim using their negotiated discounts.  $4000 for a CT scan sounds like billed charges, not negotiated fee.  How did your insurance company EOB break down the charges?

Frankies Girl

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Re: In need of a hostage negotiator
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2014, 12:31:41 PM »
Can't remember where I read this, but it was suggested to call the billing department of the hospital and nicely explain that you can't afford the bill, and ask if there is any kind of discount, and then to continue to (politely) ask "That is still pretty high; is that the best you can do for me?" until the rep really says "Yes, that is the best I can do." Apparently there are procedures in place that limit the discount they can give you right off the bat and you have to ask so many times to get their bottom pricing.

Couldn't hurt anyway.

S0VERE1GN

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Re: In need of a hostage negotiator
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2014, 12:41:54 PM »
Can't remember where I read this, but it was suggested to call the billing department of the hospital and nicely explain that you can't afford the bill, and ask if there is any kind of discount, and then to continue to (politely) ask "That is still pretty high; is that the best you can do for me?" until the rep really says "Yes, that is the best I can do." Apparently there are procedures in place that limit the discount they can give you right off the bat and you have to ask so many times to get their bottom pricing.

Couldn't hurt anyway.

this works. for absolutely everything ever. start here, then ask for a payment plan. hopefully they don't do interest ( i think its illegal for them to?)

then you should still be able to hold onto those emergency savings.

CarDude

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Re: In need of a hostage negotiator
« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2014, 03:19:10 PM »
Can't remember where I read this, but it was suggested to call the billing department of the hospital and nicely explain that you can't afford the bill, and ask if there is any kind of discount, and then to continue to (politely) ask "That is still pretty high; is that the best you can do for me?" until the rep really says "Yes, that is the best I can do." Apparently there are procedures in place that limit the discount they can give you right off the bat and you have to ask so many times to get their bottom pricing.

Couldn't hurt anyway.

I third this motion, and believe it has a surprisingly high success rate.

Tempe

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Re: In need of a hostage negotiator
« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2014, 07:38:28 PM »
Can't remember where I read this, but it was suggested to call the billing department of the hospital and nicely explain that you can't afford the bill, and ask if there is any kind of discount, and then to continue to (politely) ask "That is still pretty high; is that the best you can do for me?" until the rep really says "Yes, that is the best I can do." Apparently there are procedures in place that limit the discount they can give you right off the bat and you have to ask so many times to get their bottom pricing.

Couldn't hurt anyway.

I third this motion, and believe it has a surprisingly high success rate.
My aunt works in medical billing, and she says the same thing, keep asking. She also mentions even when you think a bill is fine, contact them because in some cases if you were supposed to get money back and don't ask, you won't get it.

Jack

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Re: In need of a hostage negotiator
« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2014, 08:33:24 PM »
I write medical (pharmacy) billing software, and we even have special code in the damn thing to give items two prices: a "charge" amount that's drastically (and artificially) inflated to send on insurance claims, and an "allow" amount that's closer to what we expect the insurance to actually agree to pay. If a patient doesn't have insurance it still billls the inflated "charge" amount, even though it's drastically higher than even the pharmacy's "normal" profit margin. If the rest of the medical billing industry works the same way, then you are completely getting ripped off if you don't negotiate.