• filter:
  • Page :
  • 1
  • Text Only
  • Search this Topic »
Voting History
rated:
My wife had to go to the ER several years ago due to severe pain in her stomach. She had a high deductible health plan through her employer. A nurse gave her a standard checkup, provided pads, pain medication, and a blood test. We went home. A few months later a bill came for $X00.00. The 'initial bill' before adjustments was well over $2,000. There's no way this is reasonable even if adjustments have to be made for patients who require treatment and are uninsured or won't pay. God forbid something serious actually happens such as a car accident, a life threatening illness, or surgery that requires staying at the hospital.

What are effective ways to avoid getting hosed? What is considered good health coverage?

Member Summary
Staff Summary
Thanks for visiting FatWallet.com. Join for free to remove this ad.

rated:
If you really want to stop your heart, google "balance billing" and find out if it is allowed in your state.

rated:
After many years of fighting with medical billing departments over pretty much OP's issues I finally concluded it was a waste of time and effort.  And I switched to medical insurance that covered most everything.

My thought was that I was paying not so much for medical insurance as for an end to the time consuming hassles.  As long as a procedure is billed to the uninsured at ten or twenty or more times what the insurance company pre-negotiates the uninsured person is screwed.

It was, IMHO, a wise decision.  Skip the high deductible plan, accept that the US medical system is setup to ripoff the uninsured or high deductible insured (high deductible policies are mostly a rip based on the silly idea that the average schmo can negotiate rational rates) and move forward with life.  Fortunately, Obamacare guarantees you can get somewhat decent coverage without denial for preexisting conditions.

rated:
high deductible insurance plans still negotiate rates, for many people that's their main value.  

rated:
I been on 3 sides of this situation over the years. I've had no insurance, a high deductible, and a very good plan. What I have learned (which echos what was said above) -

No insurance - you get billed 10-20 times what the normal insurance companies normally pay. In that situation I was able to negotiate - usually for me to pay equal to what an insurance company would pay. When I was in this situation I was always honest and up front with the provider - a lot of times doing this negotiating ahead of time in a non-emergency situation. But when you do that negotiating you have to be ready (able) to pay.

High deductible - you are pretty much stuck paying it. The fees are reduced already to the pre-negotiated price with the insurance company - you are already paying the "discounted" price. When I had this insurance I considered it just catastrophic coverage - it didn't cover everyday things like prescriptions. For prescriptions I used RX Outreach for many years for very good prices.

Full insurance - I was never really sick all my life up until a few years ago. Both my wife and myself getting older have some major complications. There is no way we could receive proper treatment without having this insurance now.

Mind you, all of my examples above were before Obama care. It was really out of control. When I had the high deductible insurance (through my employer) it had a $6k deductible and cost me $965 per month for both myself and my wife. I had to pay for everything up to the $6k mark then still had to pay 20% up until $10k. No prescription coverage at all until I would (might) make the $6k mark.

So for the OP - there will come a time when you are just going to have to suck it up and pay the price for good insurance. Sooner or later you will need it especially as you age.

rated:
Regardless of your plan, there are two simple things you can do. Contact the provider billing department and ask if they will give you a prompt payment discount. This will usually be about 10%.

Assuming you are already delinquent, you just tell them you can't afford the bills and is there a discounted payment plan they can set you up on.

It takes less than 5 minutes usually to ask about this and usually gets results. Now if the bill is $20k you probably aren't going to get it slashed in half, but it is really dependent.

The providers would rather be paid $100 than the ridiculous $500 they ask for on any given procedure, because the other risk is they don't get paid at all.

I have also found that some providers write off small amounts <$20 or so if not paid after a couple months with seemingly no adverse penalties. If you have lots of small payments after your insurance and have a big hospital provider you could save a couple hundred a year like this.

rated:
topic said:   The 'initial bill' before adjustments was well over $2,000.
 

  
The "rack rate" has no basis in reality. It's best to just pretend it doesn't exist. When talking about medical bills, focus on the insurance negotiated rate instead.

rated:
topic said:   My wife had to go to the ER several years ago due to severe pain in her stomach. She had a high deductible health plan through her employer. A nurse gave her a standard checkup, provided pads, pain medication, and a blood test. We went home. A few months later a bill came for $X00.00. The 'initial bill' before adjustments was well over $2,000. There's no way this is reasonable even if adjustments have to be made for patients who require treatment and are uninsured or won't pay. God forbid something serious actually happens such as a car accident, a life threatening illness, or surgery that requires staying at the hospital.

What are effective ways to avoid getting hosed? What is considered good health coverage?


Not sure I understand your question.

The $2k charge is irrelevant. Your insurance had negotiated rates with the provider...and that's what you were billed.

rated:
This doctor tends to agree with what has been said. Uninsured cash price for medical services is rigged truecostofhealthcare.net/introduction/

rated:
FWIW, and this is not exactly the same; I had to go to a orthopedist when I broke my foot. My insurance covered everything except for the walking boot. (I hadn't met my deductible). Anyway, the orthopedist charged me for $400 for the boot. A little research showed I could have bought the same boot for $100. I talked to the billing department explained everything and mentioned my research. The bottom line, they took the $100 payment.

Always at least try and negotiate, you have nothing to lose. And what has been said earlier applies, anyone you owe money to, should be willing to accept a percentage of that money owed rather than try and fight and get 100%.

  • Quick Reply:  Have something quick to contribute? Just reply below and you're done! hide Quick Reply
     
    Click here for full-featured reply.


Disclaimer: By providing links to other sites, FatWallet.com does not guarantee, approve or endorse the information or products available at these sites, nor does a link indicate any association with or endorsement by the linked site to FatWallet.com.

Thanks for visiting FatWallet.com. Join for free to remove this ad.

While FatWallet makes every effort to post correct information, offers are subject to change without notice.
Some exclusions may apply based upon merchant policies.
© 1999-2016