If you suffer a medical emergency and need to be treated at hospital, what do you do if you're faced with a staggering hospital bill? Hospital bills can sometimes exceed four and five figures, leaving patients reeling. However, there are some ways you can handle large hospital bills, and even lower them.
You Can Negotiate
Hospital bills are decided independent by each hospital and so great disparities can exist between them. If other local hospitals are charging considerably less for the same treatment or procedure, ask your hospital to lower the excessive bill. You can find fee and billing information on hospital treatments on the internet. Try Clear Health Costs and FAIR Health.
Don't hold on to your bill wondering what to do about it; most financial aid requires you to apply within 90 days of receiving the hospital bill. Get health bills sorted out as soon as you can.
Organize and store all of your bills in a secure place to ensure you have all the information you need to negotiate or seek financial assistance. Make a spreadsheet to keep track and contact the hospital billing department to double-check all your figures.
Thoroughly Check Hospital Bills
Hospital bills often contain errors; that's why it's essential that you triple-check everything you've been charged for. For example, if you were discharged from hospital in the morning make sure you aren't charged for a full day's room rate. Also, if you used your own medication as treatment, don't let the hospital charge you for medication.
Appeal Insurer's Decisions
Your insurer may try to say a certain medication or procedure isn't covered in your health insurance policy. Give your policy a glance-over and if you think they are being unfair, appeal the decision with them.
Ask for a Payment Plan
Once you're fully aware of how much you have to pay out of your own pocket, you can try to set up a payment plan with the hospital. If you agree to pay the full amount up front, the hospital may even offer you a cash discount.
Hire a Professional to Help
You could seek assistance from a medical-billing advocate or financial specialist with experience in medical bills. These types of firms will usually charge you around 30% of whatever you save using them (try Copatient.com)
Use Alternative Funding Methods
You could use crowd-funding websites to raise funds to cover your hospital bill or apply for private finance that has lower interest rates and more flexible repayment options than your medical bill allows.