Author Topic: 0% interest hospital payment plan  (Read 5646 times)

ac

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0% interest hospital payment plan
« on: March 29, 2016, 10:02:53 AM »
We just had a baby, and the current hospital bill is $3800 after insurance.  The hospital says they'll let us pay $100/month at no interest and no late fees.  All verbal so far - nothing on the website about it. 

I could pay it all off with my HSA or taxable investment account, but I'm inclined to do the payment plan so the HSA money gets to grow using a 0% interest loan. 

I don't love the idea of having more debt, even if my net worth is ~$600k. 

Any useful experience with this?

Thanks!

Shor

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Re: 0% interest hospital payment plan
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2016, 10:15:51 AM »
From what I have generally heard, hospital bills can be negotiated down.
So keep that in mind that although you are paying it off over time with no interest cost, you are also paying off the full amount.

With that being said,
Some people have zero qualms with getting fixed up and paying only 10% of the bill with a big sob story...
However, if you want to support the hospital and the work it does, - not to mention you are pretty wealthy and are easily able to handle the cost - you probably should just pay it off on schedule. Hospitals need money from somewhere, otherwise they have to cater to big donors, which often comes with "strings".

seattlecyclone

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Re: 0% interest hospital payment plan
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2016, 11:00:21 AM »
If they offered a 0% payment plan out of the blue, I doubt it would be hard at all to negotiate a small (10-15% ?) discount for prompt payment in full. Can't hurt to ask. Otherwise 0% financing for money you already owe is not a bad deal!

MrsDinero

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Re: 0% interest hospital payment plan
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2016, 11:03:46 AM »
I'm adverse to any loans, so even at 0% I would just pay the balance in full.  You can ask for a discount, some hospitals are better than others to negotiate with.  My hospital gave a 15% discount right away if you paid the bill within 15 days of receiving it.  Needless to say I took the discount on everything except for a $3400 bill that took several months to dispute.

I'm a red panda

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Re: 0% interest hospital payment plan
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2016, 11:25:11 AM »
Unless they can set up automatic payment, this seems like more of a hassle than it is worth.  I don't want to spend 3 years paying off such a small bill.

Willbrewer

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Re: 0% interest hospital payment plan
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2016, 11:31:40 AM »
Did you ask for a discount if you paid it in full immediately? Most hospital and Dr. bills I've had in the past offered a discount if paid within a certain amount of time.

zinethstache

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Re: 0% interest hospital payment plan
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2016, 12:10:00 PM »
The hospital typically offers a discount only after the account has aged to a certain point. I had a $2600 bill, I diligently paid a monthly payment, then about half way through they offered a 15% discount to pay it off.

We too could have paid it off at any time. I feel they earned their money and did not feel it ethical to feign financial hardship, however had no problem paying the remaining balance in full when offered.

I thought It was a great mustachian move on my part the way it worked out:)

DH had a similar bill to mine, he lost his patience with the monthly payments and paid it off... so he did not get offered a discount. You do need to have patience AND I bet there's no guarantee they will offer it.

ac

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Re: 0% interest hospital payment plan
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2016, 12:52:19 PM »
Thanks guys.

Wow - this is the first time I've been called "pretty wealthy"

It wasn't out of the blue - I asked if there was a payment plan option and if it had interest.  I'd heard from a friend that 0% was very possible.

The hospital is sending an itemized list of what all the charges were really for.  After I get it, I'll make sure I agree with the charges.  I suspect I'll challenge something.  Then I'll ask for that discount if I pay it in full.  Although that might be a weird convo:  "Do I get a discount if I pay in full right now?  No?  OK, then I'd like the $100/mo payment plan...right...I need the financing even though I just told you I have $3500 standing by"

I just received the bill Thursday 3/24, so I think there's time for all this.

I care practically nothing about supporting the hospital.  I'm pretty sure they're trying to charge me $80 for bringing our own ibuprofen or for just writing us prescriptions we didn't fill.  That sort of nonsense + whimsically high pricing has crushed my goodwill toward the medical market in general. 

I'm a red panda

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Re: 0% interest hospital payment plan
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2016, 01:09:37 PM »
Thanks guys.

Wow - this is the first time I've been called "pretty wealthy"


Would you prefer "very wealthy"?  With that net worth, you are.

Retire-Canada

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Re: 0% interest hospital payment plan
« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2016, 01:10:00 PM »
Unless they can set up automatic payment, this seems like more of a hassle than it is worth.  I don't want to spend 3 years paying off such a small bill.

Yup. Sounds like a lot of hassle for marginal gains. Your time administering the loan is worth more than you'll gain.

ac

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Re: 0% interest hospital payment plan
« Reply #10 on: March 31, 2016, 09:26:18 AM »
Yes, I assume I can do an auto payment from my HSA, but we'll see. 

ac

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Re: 0% interest hospital payment plan
« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2016, 02:21:44 PM »
I asked the billing office for a discount, and they said no.  They claim they don't do that when an insurance claim is processed. 

They will do a payment plan with 0% interest with minimum payment $25/month.

My wells fargo HSA is now set to auto pay monthly. 

We also have another $2200 bill on the way for my baby's expenses at the hospital.  Apparently those can be rolled into the same payment plan.

So I now have a $6,000 medical debt that I will drag out for up to 20 years.  Sounds insane.  I'm pretty sure they will accept some sort of discount between now and then. 


Peter Parker

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Re: 0% interest hospital payment plan
« Reply #12 on: April 08, 2016, 07:30:40 PM »
I think I would set up an auto bill pay pay out of my checking account.  Leave the money in my HSA.  Save the receipts and claim it out of my HSA years later.  You are getting 0% loan that can be invested in your HSA.....and the accumulations will more than pay the hospital bills.

MustacheAndaHalf

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Re: 0% interest hospital payment plan
« Reply #13 on: April 08, 2016, 07:49:58 PM »
If you read "America's Bitter Pill" by Steven Brill, you might be able to work up some resolve over negotiating for a lower hospital bill.  Ask yourself why does medicare pay a fraction of the hospital's price, if you don't want to read the book about it.

ac

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Re: 0% interest hospital payment plan
« Reply #14 on: April 11, 2016, 12:19:44 PM »
Thanks for the advice.  I asked the hospital if they would reduce the charge to make it more affordable, and they said No because my insurance already has a contractual rate.  I did not ask them if there were any specific line items they would write off 100% - maybe that is a significantly different question in their eyes.

I have set up a $25/mo auto bill pay from my wells fargo hsa.  First check went out today. 

I am fascinated with the idea of paying myself back in the future using my hsa, but my record keeping is bad, and it will not get better.  I get worked up enough over confusing taxes, and that would not help my sanity.  So I'll just pay out of the hsa.

Speaking more generally I feel like the medical profession continues to dig itself a hole.  It charges crazy high prices.  Realizing it can't collect on the high prices it creates 0% multi decade loans.  Since it gets so little net present value from those loans, it needs to make up that money and so it...charges more crazy high prices. 

And now I get off my high horse. 

Peter Parker

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Re: 0% interest hospital payment plan
« Reply #15 on: April 12, 2016, 01:17:21 PM »

I am fascinated with the idea of paying myself back in the future using my hsa, but my record keeping is bad, and it will not get better.  I get worked up enough over confusing taxes, and that would not help my sanity.  So I'll just pay out of the hsa.



When is it most likely you will have extremely high medical expenses?  The answer is likely to be "When I'm old."

HSA accounts are one of the BEST opportunities to allow for BOTH tax free contributions and tax free withdrawals for qualified expenses...But you don't have to withdraw immediately.  Why not let the money ride--let it grow tax free and withdraw later when you may REALLY need it in your "old age?"

As long as I can make the payments on medical bills, I'm going to do it outside of my HSA and let the money accumulate tax free and use it later when I will likely have huge expenses. 

YOU are even getting BETTER opportunity to do this because the hospital is giving you a LONG TERM/INTEREST FREE LOAN with payment terms you can easily handle via bill pay thru your checking account.  TAKE THE FREE MONEY whenever you can get it!
« Last Edit: April 12, 2016, 01:19:12 PM by Peter Parker »

I'm a red panda

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Re: 0% interest hospital payment plan
« Reply #16 on: April 12, 2016, 01:34:24 PM »
If you read "America's Bitter Pill" by Steven Brill, you might be able to work up some resolve over negotiating for a lower hospital bill.  Ask yourself why does medicare pay a fraction of the hospital's price, if you don't want to read the book about it.

If they have insurance, chances are they are paying a fraction already. The insurance negotiates charges.  The hospital has said they will not lower the charges further for people with insurance.  If there was no insurance, then they might be willing to negotiate.

ac

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Re: 0% interest hospital payment plan
« Reply #17 on: April 12, 2016, 02:46:54 PM »
If you read "America's Bitter Pill" by Steven Brill, you might be able to work up some resolve over negotiating for a lower hospital bill.  Ask yourself why does medicare pay a fraction of the hospital's price, if you don't want to read the book about it.

If they have insurance, chances are they are paying a fraction already. The insurance negotiates charges.  The hospital has said they will not lower the charges further for people with insurance.  If there was no insurance, then they might be willing to negotiate.

For some reason the charges for the newborn are only going from $2500 to $2200.  Usually they get cut by 50% to 90%.  I have no idea yet what's going so haywire with my BCBS plan.