How to Handle Medical Bills like a Pro

Corey —  May 3, 2012 — 5 Comments

Ah, medical bills.  We all hate them but they have been part of our life since birth.  As the old, wise saying goes, “there is no such thing as free lunch.”  Oh how that is especially true with medical bills!  I was just at the doctor’s office for a typical check-up and it cost me $20!  no treatment, no nothing, but it still costs me money.  I guess I should be thankful I’m not paying thousands because of cancer treatment!

However, my point here is that medical bills are part of life and the sooner we accept that, the sooner we can properly manage them.

If you find yourself in a position where you have a gigantic medical bill looking back at you, what do you do?  I know you didn’t ask for a big medical bill but sometimes real life can be quite the shocker.

I want to share with you some tips for lessening the burden of a medical bill.  Some of these tips might surprise you because hospitals and pharmaceutical companies simply don’t want you knowing about them!

Never pay full price

Did you know that you don’t have to pay full price for your medical bills?  If you’re surprised, you’re not the only one!  Hospitals assume that you will just pay the price tag of whatever treatment you had.  It amazes me how people blindly walk into medical bills and write a blank check.  Stop forking over money for the full bill!

Hospitals understand the economy and are typically willing to negotiate bills.  Another thing you should consider is negotiating the price of a medical procedure before you get the bill.  It’s not uncommon for hospitals to slash their price by 25% or more to retain your business.  Remember, hospitals and medical companies are run like a business; they don’t want to lose you and your family’s business!

Don’t assume the bill is correct

Medical bills are like traffic tickets, there are typically errors that can lessen the amount of the bill.  Did you know that the average medical bill passes through five sets of hands?  It can actually be more than that for certain hospital organizations.  Because of this arduous process, you need to make it  a habit to double check medical bills.  Hospitals could care less if you overpay for something that is not correct.  You care because your wallet cares!

How to handle medical debt

Medical debt is never fun, but sometimes it happens.  A great example is someone who goes through cancer treatment and their insurance only covered 50% of it.  If the rest was taken out on credit, you will need to tread carefully.

Most medical organizations will not request the full amount owed.  Instead, you can negotiate payments and end up paying the price in full.  For a hospital to go to collections is quite the process and can be spendy for them.  They are typically extremely open to negotiating with you.

Going forward…

After reading this article, hopefully you are more self-aware and will be better prepared for medical bills in the future.  Taking action and learning about these things will benefit you down the line especially if you feel it doesn’t matter now.  Don’t assume these situations will never happen to you.  You never know what the Lord has planned for your life, and as Christians, we are called to a standard of wisdom and not simply following the Lord blindly through life.  Be prepared for the worst and the Lord will take care of the rest!

Corey

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Corey is currently pursuing a Master of Arts degree in religion. While he enjoys learning and writing about Christianity, another one of his new passions is writing about personal finances in order to help others make wise decisions with their money.

5 responses to How to Handle Medical Bills like a Pro

  1. Thank you for this great post Jon. May I also add that to some extent medical  bills can be tax deductible. This is most likely for those with  cancer, diabetes or any expense-magnet illness. Medical bill that exceed 7.5% of the AGI(adjusted gross income) qualifies for this tax deductibles.

    Best regards,
    Belinda

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