Saturday, September 28

When you have to negotiate your doctor

When you have to negotiate your doctor
| By Liz Weston, MSN Money

Most of us would not think to haggle with our doctor about the cost of an operation. But is haggling to medical prices and save big if you do it right.

Philip Reed, senior consumer advice editor for auto site of Edmunds, negotiated purchases and leases on its fleet. He never expected his bargaining skills, to in the doctor's Office be useful.

Phil was considering knee surgery and his doctor told him that $5,000 would be his expenses. But if Reed price shied away from, its share of the cost suddenly dropped to $3,500.

"I felt like we were much used car," Reed said.

Many people do not know that medical costs are negotiable, said Jeff Yeager, author of "How to Retire the Cheapskate Way" and the ultimate cheapskate Web site.

"On the whole, most Americans think not enjoy something else than to negotiate a car" said Yeager. Is still as with Autos--maybe even more--so rarely set the cost of medical services.

Even people that are sent in the bargaining other costs may hesitate to seek a better deal from a medical provider. A consumer reports survey of 2,000 adults revealed that almost half had tried haggling, the price of an old or collectors, and 89% were successful, save an average $72. One-third had tried haggling, the price of a cell phone plan, with 76% success rate and savings amounting to $80.

But only one in five had attempted negotiations for a medical or dental Bill. Most of outrun - 69%-waren successfully, and the average savings was higher: $300.

Some people try to negotiate, because they have no health insurance or large deductibles, said Yeager. All private spending can but negotiable. Diane OSTROWSKI Martin of Rancho Cucamonga, California, said her dentist, the charge, which it crowns loaded was too high. Immediately, she reported, was the price.

Offers to pay bar, is a chance to win a quick rebate as Chris Peplinski of Plymouth, Minnesota, discovered.

"For the birth of our child, I called the billing (Department) and then said I could pay $1,500 today, but had to pay contributions for $2,300," Peplinksi wrote on my Facebook fan page. "she took my offer."

Not every reader reported success, however. Joyce Taylor from Stillwater, Oklahoma, wrote that their request for a pause "now don't go."

"" My doctor looked at me and said: "I have no idea how much everything costs," Taylor wrote.

To know who, when and how you ask that key for a business, Yeager said. His advice:

Take it early in the interview. Their ability to pay is a relevant factor in the medical discussions. If money is tight, it is often better than uncontrollable invoices in hindsight to combat attempts alerting your medical provider in advance. "I never would anyone encourage poverty if not the situation, but these days a lot of people are hurt," Yeager said. "Only after the procedure to disguise this fact, makes no sense." (Which is, if you already have the costs? You're not bad luck. There are many ways to get a break, as I wrote in "How to haggle over medical bills.")

Liz Weston

Talk to the accounting department. How Taylor discovered, is the person you often the medical service, invoices sent and not wrestling with the insurance companies for reimbursement. In the conversation with this person or department you continue in your efforts to a break.

Research the blue book costs. The Kelley Blue Book helps people to find out what they should pay for a car. The healthcare blue book book offers a similar service, average prices for thousands of medical and dental treatments. You may be a better deal to negotiate, of course, but the average values can help you in your negotiations and alert you if a price that is far out of line.

Wonder what insurers pay. Insurance companies negotiate significant discounts on the "rack rate" of what supposedly medical providers for free, said Nicholas Newsad, senior associate at HealthCare expert and author of "The Medical Bill survival guide." If you don't have insurance, it is attached to questions that you charged no more than what the same procedure of close largest insurer would pay.

To pay, if you can offer, bar, Paying with cash means that the medical provider to wait months to pay money or a cut to a credit card company.

A convenient installment pay. If all else fails, ask for more time to pay the Bill. "A longer repayment term is a pretty simple get," Yeager said. Many providers offer interest-free, two-year plans, which might further stretch out repayment.

"Below the line", Yeager said, "that it's worth getting to questions."

Liz Weston is the most read personal finance writers on the Web. She is author of several books, most recently "the 10 commandments of money: survive and thrive in the new economy" (find it at Bing). Weston award-winning columns appear every Monday and Thursday exclusively on MSN Money. Join the discussion and send your financial questions on Liz of Weston's Facebook fan page.

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