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Negotiating Your Medical Bills From the Emergency Room When You are Uninsured

By Edited Aug 6, 2015 0 2

In the current economy it is important to stretch your money.  One of the best ways to save money is by reducing your medical bills.  You can cut your medical bills by negotiating your bills from the emergency room when you are uninsured.

When you are uninsured going to the doctor can be a tedious task.  If you are uninusured, you have going to the emergency room can be an unpleasant experience.  The emergency room billcan be atrocious. For the sake of argument, lets assume that you go to the emergency room and receive two bills from that visit.  You can be billed seven hundred dollars for seeing the physician’s assistant and another five hundred dollars for the emergency room.  In total, one visit to the emergency room for advice and a referral  you were charged $1200.

When you receive the bills you may become extremely frustrated.  The amount of the bills may not allow you to pay them as soon as you receive them.  Do not fret.  There are various ways to cut the amount of your medical bills. 

Try to Sign up for Any Assistance Program in your State

Many states have programs that will allow you to sign up for programs if you are unemployed and do not have health insurance.  Many of these programs will still accept you even after you have visited the emergency room.  If you are eligible for the program, you should sign up as soon as possible.  Each state has a different program so you will need to do a little research to find the correct organization in your state. Although this is a great way to save money, it is not the only way to reduce your bill.

Handle the Situation As Soon As Possible

Receiving the bills can be extremely stressful.  It may seem easier to put them off until another day or another time. However, this is one of the worst things that you can do. If you do not pay them in a timely manner, it can affect your credit which can affect other aspects of your life.  Additionally, some hospitals and organizations will give you a ten percent discount for paying within a certain amount of time after receiving your bill (typically this is seven days).

Know the Number of Bills That You Owe

It is important to realize that each bill may be from a different department and could be anadditional charge (multiple bills can originate from one visit).  You must read the billing organization on each bill to determine how many bills you owe.  You will need to repeat the following process for each bill.

Call the Billing Office

Call the billing office and ask for any programs that will allow you to reduce the bill.  If you have applied for an assistance program you may be able to get your payment date extended.  If you are not eligible for an assistance program, you need to enter into negotiations.

When you call the billing office you will need your billing id or the number on your bill.  It is important that you provide this number to the representative. It ensures that your conversation will be accurately recorded. 

Explain your situation to the representative. When you are negotiating your medical bills you needto be calm.  You should reiterate that you want to pay your bill but you are not able to pay the full amount at this time due to your economic situation.  Ask the representative if there are any programs available to help you pay your bill.  Answer all the questions truthfully.  After the representative tells you the amount of the discount, ask if there is anything else that can bedone.  Yes, you are supposed to ask the same question twice.  It may seem redundant but you are often given a better deal the second time around.

The Kind of Deal that You Want

The negotiation that you are looking for is around half of the amount of the original bill.  In the example above, you would be happy if each bill were reduced to six hundred dollars. 

The Conditions In the Offer

Often the final amount of the bills that you will pay is conditioned upon certain terms.  One of the terms may be immediate payment.  Some organizations will only allow an offer to stand for twenty-four hours. If the representative explains that they are only able to give this offer for a certain amount of time, make sure that you pay the bill in that amount of time.

Many organizations just want to see a good amount of effort on your part.  These organizations or hospitals will allow you to pay your bill in installments.  This is one of the best conditions that you can negotiate. 

Information That You Need To Record

Recording your information is an essential part of the process.  It does not make sense to spend time negotiating your bill if you do not keep a record of your hard work.  Often the hospital or organization may not keep accurate records and may bill you again.  If you do not have proof that you spoke to someone and paid the bill, you may have to pay the bill again.  You can save yourself a lot of trouble by keeping a record of this process.

After you have negotiated your medical bill to the amount of money that you believe is fair, record the offer.  You need to keep a record of the date, the person that you talked to, the amount of money that you need to pay, the due dates, and the time of the conversation.  Ask the representative to send you a copy of the offer. 

If you make a payment over the phone, you need to record the confirmation number.  If you make a payment over the phone, ask the representative to send the confirmation in the mail. 

Summary of Process

In order to make this process simpler, refer to the following information.  The steps that you need to take are:

1.  Apply for any program that you are eligible to participate in.

2.  Call the billing office (with your billing information)

3.  Negotiate until you are only responsible for half of the bill

4.  Record the conversation (the date, name or representative, final amount, due date, time of conversation)

 

 

 


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Comments

Oct 31, 2011 3:57am
anointedtoday
This is great advice. Seems as though negotiating is something we will do in life for nearly any and everything.
Nov 24, 2011 10:50pm
AuroraWindsor
Hi anointedtoday! Negotiating your emergency room medical bills can really help you save some money. Thank you for reading the article.
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