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rated:
I found on this forum a similar thread, but it was from 2011 and it was a different case. 
We have a family insurance plan at BCBS and we pay ~ $800/ month. We also have a $6,000 deductible/ family and 3,000/ person. So we pay ~ 10k for nothing or just for the right to pay more. 
We went to the ER with my son breathing abnormally. We spent less than 24h there and they charged us with $3,000 (4,471 - 1,949 adjustments and 2 specialist fees of $572).
1,463 for a pediatrics room
667 for the ER room (2h)
665 for 2 nasal swabs
~ 1,200 for 8 nabulizer procedures (139 each+ 10.80 for each dose of solution)
We tried to lower the bill talking politely and stating that the bill is too high for those procedures, for the room, etc. The financial dept. lady told us that they don't negotiate the bills...
BCBS payed the stoning amount of $ 5.81 from the total amount. Before they payed the majority of the specialist bills (we have a $65 copay and a $35 for sick visit). We tried to ask them to pay more and they told us that the deductible was not met and that it's a different situation... So they pay some of the cabinet visits but none of the ER visits.
We read all over the internet that hosital bills can be lowered and are negotiable. What can we do?

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It doesn't help at all in your case, but in case it interests you to know, the expensive nasal swab that is used these d... (more)

CrashCart9 (Oct. 13, 2016 @ 10:03p) |

CrashCart9, thanks for the info. They didn't ask about any test, just about the pulmonary X-ray. They treated us nicely ... (more)

guguluff (Oct. 17, 2016 @ 2:32p) |

Made a visit to the ER in another state last year ,bill was approx $27,000 my medical insurance paid just over $4,000,an... (more)

yaknart33 (Oct. 21, 2016 @ 5:49p) |

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rated:
It looks like they already lowered your bill by $1949. I doubt you're going to get anything else unless you default and start negotiating. Your credit will take a hit for it. Unfortunately, the time to negotiate is before the service is incurred, which is more or less impossible for emergency room visits. Sorry to be so blunt.

rated:
guguluff said:   I found on this forum a similar thread, but it was from 2011 and it was a different case. 
We have a family insurance plan at BCBS and we pay ~ $800/ month. We also have a $6,000 deductible/ family and 3,000/ person. So we pay ~ 10k for nothing or just for the right to pay more. 
We went to the ER with my son breathing abnormally. We spent less than 24h there and they charged us with $3,000 (4,471 - 1,949 adjustments and 2 specialist fees of $572).
1,463 for a pediatrics room
667 for the ER room (2h)
665 for 2 nasal swabs
~ 1,200 for 8 nabulizer procedures (139 each+ 10.80 for each dose of solution)
We tried to lower the bill talking politely and stating that the bill is too high for those procedures, for the room, etc. The financial dept. lady told us that they don't negotiate the bills...
BCBS payed the stoning amount of $ 5.81 from the total amount. Before they payed the majority of the specialist bills (we have a $65 copay and a $35 for sick visit). We tried to ask them to pay more and they told us that the deductible was not met and that it's a different situation... So they pay some of the cabinet visits but none of the ER visits.
We read all over the internet that hosital bills can be lowered and are negotiable. What can we do?

  
Hospital bills are negotiable.  BCBS negotiated a $2000 discount for you!  Ask the hospital for a payment plan; they should agree to let you pay it out over 12 months.

rated:
You can try asking to speak to a supervisor when the first person you speak to is unwilling or unable to do anything for you. You can also ask the hospital finance office if they offer a financial aid package. Many hospitals offer discounts on a sliding scale depending on your income. The discounts can be dramatic if your income is low....when I was a young adult and hospitalized for a lengthy period, the hospital charged me nothing above what the insurance paid. On the other hand, after a recent stay and based on my income, a different, non profit hospital offered no discount and wouldn't budge on their shocking bill. So I'll looking for a medical billing advocate (google the term). They know hospital finance procedures and will negotiate on your behalf for a fee, usually 25-30% of what they save you on the original bill. I believe their standard tactics are to question obviously high line-items or your bill and offer standard Medicaid rates which are often much lower than "normal" rates.

Good luck!

rated:
DonSho said:   You can try asking to speak to a supervisor when the first person you speak to is unwilling or unable to do anything for you. You can also ask the hospital finance office if they offer a financial aid package. Many hospitals offer discounts on a sliding scale depending on your income. The discounts can be dramatic if your income is low....when I was a young adult and hospitalized for a lengthy period, the hospital charged me nothing above what the insurance paid. On the other hand, after a recent stay and based on my income, a different, non profit hospital offered no discount and wouldn't budge on their shocking bill. So I'll looking for a medical billing advocate (google the term). They know hospital finance procedures and will negotiate on your behalf for a fee, usually 25-30% of what they save you on the original bill. I believe their standard tactics are to question obviously high line-items or your bill and offer standard Medicaid rates which are often much lower than "normal" rates.

Good luck!

  OP should check if any of the bills were from non network providers at the network hospital.

I think that should be prohibited b/c what's a patient to do check every doc. coming in the room??

rated:
AAlison said:   
Ask the hospital for a payment plan; they should agree to let you pay it out over 12 months.

  I got a 24 mo payment plan with no interest from a major university hospital on a little less than what OP balance is

Did you contribute to HSA?

rated:
guguluff said:   We have a family insurance plan at BCBS and we pay ~ $800/ month. We also have a $6,000 deductible/ family and 3,000/ person. 
  You have a high deductible in exchange for a low premium thinking you probably wouldn't use any services. You gambled and lost. Why would you expect the hospital or BC to lower the prices any more?

rated:
Medicine is in general insanely overpriced in this country so I don't ever feel bad about trying to get a discount. It may not work, but try writing them a hardship letter, a real sob story, and you may get an additional discount.

rated:
I agree it sucks, but can you imagine the waiting time to be seen in an ER if it were reasonably priced?

rated:
Thank you so much for the fast replies!
We lived in Europe for the majority of our life, so this is somehow new to us. Back there for a nose swab we paid like $5-10 without any insurance, so running some lab test for a mucus sample should cost... let's say $50 or maybe the insane amount of $100, not 330... For a hospital room the charge was around $50 so I imagined to be double, triple... in the worst case scenario $500, but 1,450 is plain robbery. I can't even find a luxury resort room for this huge price right now...
They offered some payment plans, but the amount is insane for a flu treatment. No one regulates their rates? We paid $1,500 out of the pocket for the child birth with a similar insurance. It was for the birth itself and 2,5 nights in hospital, at the same hospital, 2 years ago.
Atikovi, 10k per year just to be insured doesn't seem so little to me. My quarrel is mostly w/ the hospital, they did minimum interventions, after the discharge we payed $35 for a nebulizer and $15 for the treatment and used the same stuff at home, for 4 more days. So they charged us 3000, even if their costs where next to nothing.
Sorry but I don't know what OP and HSA stands for but will try to answer in the morning.

rated:
guguluff said:   Thank you so much for the fast replies!
We lived in Europe for the majority of our life, so this is somehow new to us. Back there for a nose swab we paid like $5-10 without any insurance, so running some lab test for a mucus sample should cost... let's say $50 or maybe the insane amount of $100, not 330... For a hospital room the charge was around $50 so I imagined to be double, triple... in the worst case scenario $500, but 1,450 is plain robbery. I can't even find a luxury resort room for this huge price right now...
They offered some payment plans, but the amount is insane for a flu treatment. No one regulates their rates? We paid $1,500 out of the pocket for the child birth with a similar insurance. It was for the birth itself and 2,5 nights in hospital, at the same hospital, 2 years ago.
Atikovi, 10k per year just to be insured doesn't seem so little to me. My quarrel is mostly w/ the hospital, they did minimum interventions, after the discharge we payed $35 for a nebulizer and $15 for the treatment and used the same stuff at home, for 4 more days. So they charged us 3000, even if their costs where next to nothing.
Sorry but I don't know what OP and HSA stands for but will try to answer in the morning.

  A "hospital room" isn't to pay for the room and bed, it's to pay for the 24 hours of nurse coverage, monitoring, basic supplies, etc.

rated:
I view a hospital as a place you go when you have a life threatening emergency. You felt like your son's life could be endangered and the hospital stabilized him. 

I am very surprised that they only billed out $4471 and it was contracted down to $3000 by BCBS. a $3000 contracted rate usually has a $20,000 or something ludicrous. Sometimes they will play ball if you pay a HUGE chunk of it? Doesn't hurt to ask. Good luck and I'm glad nothing bad happened to your son. Hopefully you can find a pediatrician that has after clinic hours or at least phone access in the future. 

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guguluff said:   Thank you so much for the fast replies!
We lived in Europe for the majority of our life, so this is somehow new to us. Back there for a nose swab we paid like $5-10 without any insurance, so running some lab test for a mucus sample should cost... let's say $50 or maybe the insane amount of $100, not 330... For a hospital room the charge was around $50 so I imagined to be double, triple... in the worst case scenario $500, but 1,450 is plain robbery. I can't even find a luxury resort room for this huge price right now...
They offered some payment plans, but the amount is insane for a flu treatment. No one regulates their rates? We paid $1,500 out of the pocket for the child birth with a similar insurance. It was for the birth itself and 2,5 nights in hospital, at the same hospital, 2 years ago.
Atikovi, 10k per year just to be insured doesn't seem so little to me. My quarrel is mostly w/ the hospital, they did minimum interventions, after the discharge we payed $35 for a nebulizer and $15 for the treatment and used the same stuff at home, for 4 more days. So they charged us 3000, even if their costs where next to nothing.
Sorry but I don't know what OP and HSA stands for but will try to answer in the morning.

  
OP stands are original post or original poster (you). HSA is health savings account. It is so you can pay for medical/health related stuff and have it be tax deductible. As long as you have an HSA (regardless if you fund it) at the time of the service then it would work.

rated:
Will ask Dh tomorrow about the HSA.
The kid was breathing difficultly but no other flu like symptoms; it was a Sunday afternoon... off course. They did their job well, I'm not contesting the staff's professionalism. But I insisted in going home after the initial ER visit and the nurse was mocking me w/ one of her colleagues. Everything they've done after the chest X-ray and nose swab I could've done at home, for 50 bucks.
i3ighead, the same thing crossed my mind. The delivery and hospitalization fee, for the birth where around 12k and we paid just 1,5k. We where simply not expecting this , maybe around $600-700. Why so much now?

I'm so disappointing after this experience... I wonder if tragedies happen because of this "sick" system? I mean people trying to self medicate at home, in order to avoid hospitals even if they have serious illnesses. We would avoid hospitals as much as possible, in the future. Hoping that w/out any cost to our health.

p.s. Could it be that the hospital and the insurance company work hand in hand to get as much money back from the ones that actually pay? It might sound like a conspiracy theory, but the amount left out by the hospital is just right for the IC to take advantage of the personal deductible, in our case...

rated:
We don't have a HSA. We are in our mid 30s, no previous illnesses. Still don't understand why someone said we pay a low premium...

rated:
Welcome to the US medical system. Without getting in medical details, 3k bill for an ER visit lasting ~24 hours is on the low side or about right IMO. It sucks, but that is what it is.

Have you ereceived a statmenet from your insurance yet; it is usually called "Explanation of benefits" (EOB). That should tell you exactly what was billed to insurance, what insurance paid, what you are responsible for, and what the medical provider has to take it on themselves ("discount"). Make sure all the details on that is consistent with you know about the medical services you received. If there is a discrepancy between the amount owed per EOB and the bill you received from hospital, sort that with the hospital; generally you should stick with the EOB.

Other than that, there is relatively very little you can do. You can ask for a "cash discount" from the hospital for paying the whole bill upfront. But that is usually hit-or-miss.

rated:
guguluff said:   We don't have a HSA. We are in our mid 30s, no previous illnesses. Still don't understand why someone said we pay a low premium...
  Your $800 premium would have been higher had you opted for a plan with a lower premium.
ETA: $800 may not be a "low" premium. But it is a "lower" premium (relative to a non-high deductible policy premium).
ETA: Open an HSA account and fund it so that you can at least pay the bill pre-tax. If you dont already have an HSA, you cannot use it for thie current situation. But for future, do open an HSA now. Make sure your plan is eligible for an HSA (many but not all high-deductible plans are).

rated:
guguluff said:   p.s. Could it be that the hospital and the insurance company work hand in hand to get as much money back from the ones that actually pay? It might sound like a conspiracy theory, but the amount left out by the hospital is just right for the IC to take advantage of the personal deductible, in our case...
 

  There is no conspiracy. However, the US medical system, particularly when it comes to pricing as as opaque as it gets.
On the bright side, you have met the deductible for your child. Future visits to a medical provider (during the plan year) will be paid by insurance (except for any copay/coinsurance).

rated:
If you have a high deductible medical plan, and are not taking advantage of an HSA, you are really hurting yourself. An HSA is one of the best retirement account options available. I would max out my HSA before adding anything additional to my 401k other than whats required to get the company match.

rated:
We asked about a discount if we pay upfront but she said they don't negotiate the bill regardless.
We don't have the EOB but when we confronted the BCBS employee w/ the hospital bill she didn't dismiss it or stated anything.
My FIL payed around $800 for an overnight ER room when he had some heart problems, @ the same hospital. They charged us w/ $667 for 2h in the ER...
Are the hospital fees regulated by any law? Should they post their fees online so one could compare different hospitals and procedures fees?

rated:
I recently confirmed, first-hand, something that I had heard for years - If you pay cash for the procedure, you will get a discount significantly greater than the so-called insurance discount that is on your EOB.  It appears that the standard rate listed on the EOB is very similar to the rack rate in a hotel room.

rated:
I find that paying $1 a month toward a bill like that gets their attention and usually ends up with a phone call that can end up in negotiations.

rated:
guguluff said:   My FIL payed around $800 for an overnight ER room when he had some heart problems, @ the same hospital. They charged us w/ $667 for 2h in the ER...

Sounds about right; big fee just for getting assigned a bed and then smaller incremental fee by the hour.
guguluff said:   We don't have the EOB but when we confronted the BCBS employee w/ the hospital bill she didn't dismiss it or stated anything.
  
Wait until you get the EOB and verify that the amount matches what the hospital is billing you before you pay.
guguluff said:   Are the hospital fees regulated by any law? Should they post their fees online so one could compare different hospitals and procedures fees?
  
I agree that the medical industry needs to be much more transparent about their pricing, but it really wouldn't make that much difference to you. For one, you needed an ER and wouldn't have time to shop around; even if you did have time, you probably wouldn't have known which services to price. More importantly, though, you're not paying their "rack rate", you're paying the insurance negotiated rate; this rate can vary between providers, but typically not by very much.

Bottom line: you're not getting screwed by the hospital, you're getting screwed by the inflated cost of healthcare along with all the rest of us. You're stuck with the medical plan you have, so you're just going to have to suck it up and pay it. Open an HSA so you're prepared for next time.

rated:
We'll wait for the EOB first. Not in a hurry to pay anyways...
We didn't have money to put in a HSA for a long time. And to my understanding those are our money that we can't use for something else. We don't have a fixed income and in some months we live out of savings.
But anyways thank you all for the info. Will try to speak w/ a supervisor for a cash payment discount and maybe a medical billing advocate if the fee is not over the roof.

rated:
Is the bill difficult for you to afford? Are you poor or struggling financially?

Or are you just upset because you think the bill costs too much?

Our medical costs in the USA are very expensive versus what you might pay out of pocket in most of Europe. On the other hand numerous other things are generally cheaper here in the USA versus most of Europe (taxes, gasoline, housing, clothing, etc etc ).

rated:
Last Spring visiting my mother in NJ, I had to go to the ER for some sort of gut problem.

I filled some paper work, they took my blood pressure, and we waited for close to 4 hours, in a waiting room with some people who had been there before our arrival.
Rush hour came along, with a flow of ambulances.
Nothing moving anymore in waiting room, I decided to go home and wait for next day to see how I felt.
I was getting much better next day.
End....
... NO 

Arriving back home in VA, I found an invoice ... over $1000

The most expensive chair I had to sit on.

I won't give them a cent: I had to cancel my insurance when it increased to $1500 a month with $10, 000 deductible.

rated:
guguluff said:   We didn't have money to put in a HSA for a long time. And to my understanding those are our money that we can't use for something else. We don't have a fixed income and in some months we live out of savings.
 

  
A great thing about an HSA is that you don't have to fund it in advance, you just have to open it in advance. Open one up with whatever the minimum is. Whenever you get a medical bill, you can put the money in the HSA for instant income tax savings on that amount. You can use the money as soon as its available in your account to pay the bill directly or reimburse yourself.

rated:
mikebeets said:   Last Spring visiting my mother in NJ, I had to go to the ER for some sort of gut problem.

I filled some paper work, they took my blood pressure, and we waited for close to 4 hours, in a waiting room with some people who had been there before our arrival.
Rush hour came along, with a flow of ambulances.
Nothing moving anymore in waiting room, I decided to go home and wait for next day to see how I felt.
I was getting much better next day.
End....
... NO 

Arriving back home in VA, I found an invoice ... over $1000

The most expensive chair I had to sit on.

I won't give them a cent: I had to cancel my insurance when it increased to $1500 a month with $10, 000 deductible.

  I must be naive...you never saw a doctor, merely checked in and gave them all the info they needed to bill you...and that's it...and they billed you?

rated:
Jerosen, the fees are huge regardless of our income. We are somewhere in between. Here we live in a smaller city, back there we lived in a capital city and believe me, so many things were cheaper (including natural foods, produce, phone bills, internet, cable, etc.) I'm not complaining about anything because I like it here, but I can't understand why do people accept this situation. Most of those who pay for health insurance and services, work hard for their money. I don't mind paying taxes, if the state repair the streets, make public schools better, etc. but the money we pay to an insurance company or to a big hospital make a lot of managers and stock holders rich, without any evident benefit to us, the payers. I did not ask or need to be visited 10-15 times by nurses and hospital personnel (someone came w/ some toys in the ER and someone else w/ a blanket in the pediatrics room, not actual nurses, just some people showing up in the room)...
Mikebeets, I guess we were lucky, actually seeing a doctor for $1000.
Doveroftke, will look more into HSA. We were trying to avoid credit cards, multiple bank accounts, etc. because they cost money to maintain, in the long run.

rated:
guguluff said:   Jerosen, the fees are huge regardless of our income. We are somewhere in between. Here we live in a smaller city, back there we lived in a capital city and believe me, so many things were cheaper (including natural foods, produce, phone bills, internet, cable, etc.) I'm not complaining about anything because I like it here, but I can't understand why do people accept this situation. Most of those who pay for health insurance and services, work hard for their money. I don't mind paying taxes, if the state repair the streets, make public schools better, etc. but the money we pay to an insurance company or to a big hospital make a lot of managers and stock holders rich, without any evident benefit to us, the payers. I did not ask or need to be visited 10-15 times by nurses and hospital personnel (someone came w/ some toys in the ER and someone else w/ a blanket in the pediatrics room, not actual nurses, just some people showing up in the room)...
...

  
I asked about your income level because that matters.   There are charity programs for people who can't afford their bills.

What city did you live in in Europe?

So.... you can afford to pay it and you're just complaining because you think it should be cheaper.

I think anyone who knows much about the US healthcare system would agree that our system is pretty broken in general and we as a nation spend too much on healthcare.

Your specific bill is in line with what we'd expect to pay for an emergency room visit.   Yes its expensive.   I think we all agree.   But its not abnormally expensive.

 

rated:
guguluff said:   ...I did not ask or need to be visited 10-15 times by nurses and hospital personnel (someone came w/ some toys in the ER and someone else w/ a blanket in the pediatrics room, not actual nurses, just some people showing up in the room)...

 

  

That is one of the oddest things I've seen someone complain about.

Did they also have the audacity to smile and act pleasant?
 

rated:
guguluff said:   I don't mind paying taxes, if the state repair the streets, make public schools better, etc. but the money we pay to an insurance company or to a big hospital make a lot of managers and stock holders rich, without any evident benefit to us, the payers.
 

  What public schools do your kids attend and what streets to you drive on?  Just kidding. 

rated:
guguluff said:   We don't have a HSA. We are in our mid 30s, no previous illnesses. Still don't understand why someone said we pay a low premium...
  Before Obamacare, my BC had gone up to over $800 a month for just myself, granted a bit older and low deductible, but still one person. 

rated:
It would interesting to see what the implicit cost of European healthcare plans are per family. The cost per year implied in higher income taxes and VAT vs. here where we pay explicitly for it, or by the employer on our behalf.

rated:
To the OP, please do consider an Urgent Care clinic next time for anything non-life threatening. My local UC charges no more than $400, insurance adjusted to ~$250, for the doctor's consult

rated:
I'm not interested in starting a virtual "fight" over which system is better. They all limp somehow... Thank you for confirming me that our HI is not that high and that the hospital bill is an average one. We live in KS in a smaller city so the prices are probably lower, houses are cheaper but also the salaries are not so generous.
They're pouring asphalt on some major streets and also the school is pretty good. So you see, I do appreciate the good things in life.
Monto888, will do. We learned our lessons the expensive way. We didn't expect to stay over night and also for the ER to be so expensive. And also it was a Sunday afternoon... just searched online and I found an Immediate care clinic opened till 4pm on Sunday. Will save the contact.
 
I also found this guy comparing some of the health related fees in other countries and he makes some good points to confirm my previous comments. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSjGouBmo0M



rated:
<< Mikebeets, I guess we were lucky, actually seeing a doctor for $1000 >>

NO, I never saw a doctor. Just a paper pusher.

On another point:

it is A LOT cheaper for the 2 of us to fly to France & have dental work done by my niece, than to go to a dentist in Virginia. [she charges us "regular" price, but no waiting for an appointment.]

Where we live, we cannot find a "family doctor"
We have a relatively good hospital 15 miles away. I asked them if they could recommend a doctor. Their answer:

The doctors in town are NOT taking new patients, expect XXXX , Dr -   but I would not go there myself !!!

rated:
atikovi said:   
Before Obamacare, my BC had gone up to over $800 a month for just myself, granted a bit older and low deductible, but still one person. 

  AFTER  Obamacare, our BC had gone up to over $2200 a month for the 2 of us.  10k deductible  each.

Had to cancel. We are past retirement age, close to no income, no SS, nothing.
We "unfortunately" own a property that makes us non -  illegible  for special aid from the hospital network [Centra].

But, I just learned that they give me  reduced fee if I pay them right away for a visit, just because I don't have insurance & I am poor - no questions asked.

Wished they had told me earlier !!!
 

rated:
guguluff said:   So they charged us 3000, even if their costs where next to nothing.
I do very much sympathize with your situation, but the statement that I'm quoting here is incorrect. The cost of running a hospital emergency room includes millions and millions of dollars in life saving equipment, the cost of specially trained staff that works there 24/7 each and every day of the year, etc... Whether or not you end up needing all those services, as an ER patient you'll be charged much higher fees for the same procedures to account for all the fixed costs associated with an emergency room.

An emergency room is also not allowed to turn people away, so they still have to provide service to Medicaid patients (and they typically lose money on Medicaid patients), patients with no insurance or those who just won't pay their bills. These additional costs are passed onto the people who do pay.

I realize that it's an extremely expensive lesson, but as several people have correctly pointed out above, for non-emergent issues that can't wait, an urgent care facility would be far more cost effective than an emergency room. For pediatric issues, you may want to also look around for after hours pediatric facilities, which would be even cheaper than an urgent care center and may bill your insurance for just a regular physician visit.

Skipping 20 Messages...
rated:
Made a visit to the ER in another state last year ,bill was approx $27,000 my medical insurance paid just over $4,000,and I paid my co payment and that was all.Make them an offer see what they will settle for.If my insurer can negotiate with an out of network provider for $20,000 discount you should be able to also.

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