We all know that healthcare bills can be astronomical. One simple doctor visit can cost you your entire monthly budget (or more!).
This expense turns many people away from seeking out the healthcare they need. Making this choice can affect you for a long time, and many people struggle to pay for their healthcare needs for years.
However, there are quite a few ways to eliminate these huge costs from your healthcare. It often won’t feel easy, and there’s a bit of legwork, but it’s possible!
As with all other bills you’ll have to pay, there are services and techniques you can employ to lower the costs. We’ve detailed some of the best below for you.
Table of Contents
Take advantage of health benefits
Many employers offer health insurance plans, so ensure you understand the coverage and take full advantage of it.
Pick a provider and plan ahead for emergency care
Research different providers in your area and find one that fits your needs and budget. Also, plan ahead for any potential emergency care by having an emergency fund set aside.
Avoid using health insurance for everything
Health insurance is great for major medical expenses, but it may not always be the best option for minor medical expenses such as routine check-ups or prescriptions.
Look into medical discount programs
Some doctors offer discounts if you pay cash upfront or sign up for a payment plan with them directly.
Ask to lower your bill
Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor or hospital if they can lower the cost of your bill, especially if you’re uninsured or underinsured. Sometimes the easiest way to get a discount is to ask.
Get an itemized bill
Ensure you get an itemized bill from your doctor or hospital to see exactly what services were provided and how much each one costs.
Look for other sources of payment
If you’re uninsured or underinsured, look into other payment sources such as grants or charity programs that may help cover some of the costs associated with healthcare bills.
Negotiate a rate
If you can pay off the entire bill at once, try negotiating a discounted rate with the provider to save money in the long run.
Come to terms on a payment plan
If paying off the entire bill upfront isn’t an option, talk to your provider about setting up a payment plan that works for both parties involved so that you can still get the care you need without breaking the bank in one go.
Scrutinize Your Bill
Carefully review all charges on your medical bills before making any payments; billing errors occur more often than people think!
Look Into The Average Price
Before even attending a doctor’s appointment, the first thing to do is to look into the cost of the initial consultation itself. What is the average price in your area or a little further afield?
Similarly, if you’re a little further down your diagnosis and treatment line, make sure you look up the average price of the operation or medication you’re about to go under.
Why do you need to do this? To make sure you’ve got some power on your side. The more you know about what it usually costs, the better you can negotiate down the price if need be.
You can confidently talk to the healthcare provider with these figures. It’s hard to issue a bill without a discount when patients know they can get something cheaper elsewhere!
Of course, it might take some practice to do this. You can also get in touch with a healthcare advocate who can talk to you. These people will hold the front line against a healthcare provider for you and help ensure you pay the price you deserve.
Research Financial Aid Programs
Alongside being able to pay via a payment plan, you may also be entitled to financial assistance simultaneously. Ask about this before paying a bill or setting up your payment plan.
If you qualify for monthly payments, there’s a very good chance you’ll be able to tap into the hospital’s very own assistance program.
If you don’t qualify for Medicare, you may qualify for Medicaid instead. The rules and regulations of using this insurance company vary from state to state. You’ll have to look into it according to your own government legislation.
Don’t Be Afraid to Negotiate
As we mentioned earlier, you’ll sometimes have to negotiate with a healthcare professional. The idea of doing that alone can be scary. In the moment, it can feel next to impossible to manage.
However, if it cuts off a good chunk of your bill, or allows you to pay monthly and save your budget, it’s necessary!
Make sure you walk into a doctor’s office armed with facts and statistics. Also, make sure you know the person to call to ask for a discount.
If you can’t do this face-to-face or on the phone, you can always send emails to enquire and follow up about your choices. And there’s always a reliable advocate nearby that can stand on your behalf.
If you’ve just received a healthcare bill that you know you’ll struggle to pay, don’t let yourself panic. There’s a lot you can do in a situation like this.
This includes applying for aid, paying bit by bit, and ultimately negotiating lower prices with the healthcare provider themselves. Take some time and do your own research into these methods, and don’t let yourself stray from being able to see a doctor again.
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Greg is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) with 22+ years experience in Financial Services. He has held numerous FINRA Securities licenses (series 7, 63, 65, and 66), and is an expert on Investment Products and Financial Planning. Greg has 22+ years experience as a real estate investor and degrees in Psychology and Philosophy.
Greg has been quoted/interviewed in Yahoo Money, Yahoo Finance, USA Today, Authority Magazine, Realtor.com, Business Insider, and others.
Greg is an avid runner, and the father to identical twin girls and their awesome brother. His love of budgeting and his kids led him to join The Great Resignation in 2021.
Disclaimer: Any Financial Tips on ChaChingQueen are general and informational. Speak with a professional about your specific situation.