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#1 of 11 Old 03-04-2009, 11:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I went to the ER in January because I thought I might have a blood clot in my calf. (There's a family history of blood clots with both my mom and dad, so I freak out about that stuff.) It turned out to be nothing, but the bill is for $1600. I just about fell over. We have a high-deductible health insurance plan.

So...I have a call in to the hospital's billing office and I was going to ask them if there was anything they could do to lower the bill. I've never done this before. Is this done? How would I word it? What kind of "deal," if any, could I get?

Thanks in advance. I'm just in shock that it was for so much! I don't know what I expected -- $500 maybe? I mean, I waited there for five hours and was seen for about an hour total.

Formerly New Mama to Henry, born August 2005 and Silas, born November 2010.
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#2 of 11 Old 03-04-2009, 11:55 PM
 
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I haven't heard of doing this, but I suppose that you don't get what you don't ask for. Other mamas may have more sound advice on how to go about it, but the least you could do is arrange an incremental payment plan without any "finance" or "late" charges. Good luck!

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#3 of 11 Old 03-05-2009, 12:25 AM
 
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I have a neighbor who does this. I am not sure how he words it- he is very persuasive. If you can write out a check for like $1000- offer that- otherwise tell them you will be making payments. That is what I would do anyway.

Iowaorganic- mama to DD (1/5/06), DS1 (4/9/07), DS2 (1/22/09), DS3 (12/10/10), DD2 (7/6/12) and a new kid due in early 2014

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#4 of 11 Old 03-05-2009, 01:08 AM
 
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ask if they offer any plan for low-income....our er does

if theres no way to write it off altogether they should be able to set up a payment plan
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#5 of 11 Old 03-05-2009, 02:59 AM
 
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Is that the amount AFTER they ran it through your insurance? Usually just having it run through your insurance (even though it will just go towards your deductible) will result in the total being lower than it would be if you had no insurance at all.

For example, one of my DD's spent 4 hours in the ER last month. She had IV fluids, blood work, a chest x-ray, and a snot test for flu. The total billed by the ER was just over $3K, but the insurance write off was $2K, leaving a total bill of $1100. Thankfully we only pay 15% of that amount, but even if we had a high deductible and had to pay it all, $1100 would be a lot better than $3000, kwim?

I'd definitely call and ask what they can do though. You certainly won't get any discount if you don't ask. It probably would help if you could offer them a lump sum upfront, for example $800 right now and they write off the rest or I've got to make $25/month payments for the next forever. I'd get it IN WRITING though....as in, you want to see a FINAL BILL for the amount you settle on BEFORE you pay them anything.
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#6 of 11 Old 03-05-2009, 03:22 AM
 
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My brother ALWAYS does this. He is self-insured, and he said it is his standard operating procedure to go back to the hospital and argue with them/negotiate. He said he never pays what they bill him. Worth a try!

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#7 of 11 Old 03-05-2009, 03:29 AM
 
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Yes, tell them you can't afford it and see what they can do. You may have to document your financial situation to get it reduced, but it can be worth it. My sister had her whole emergency room bill written off recently (over $2000) because her income was so low.
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#8 of 11 Old 03-05-2009, 11:42 AM
 
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ONe of our local hospitals has a charity fund for low income uninsured patients. It never hurts to ask.

Your best bet is generally to just work out a payment plan. My recent hoispital bill was $1200. the tetnus shot alone was $250. yeah that would have been $40 at my Dr.s office. My little bottle of pain pills to get me through the night was $50. the full perscription was only $25. Never take anything from the ER you can get somewhere else. Also the big expense was x-rays. I didn't need them. I knew I didn't need them. they ordered them without actually looking at my wound (yeah, I was in for a wound and they did x-rays, still didn't really look at my wound). try to think clearly and have someone else who feel like askling questions go with you next time you go to the Er. Once I have acceopted their stupid services I feel obligated to pay though. even if it sucks writing the check every month.

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#9 of 11 Old 03-05-2009, 11:50 AM
 
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If you can pay cash now they will offer a discount, seems like 50% is pretty standard. If you are anything other than higher upper class you should be able to get a grant or similar through the hospital if the cash option doesn't work.
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#10 of 11 Old 03-05-2009, 12:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wifeandmom View Post
Is that the amount AFTER they ran it through your insurance?
Yes.

Formerly New Mama to Henry, born August 2005 and Silas, born November 2010.
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#11 of 11 Old 03-05-2009, 01:26 PM
 
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We are dealing with a hospital right now.

If you have to pay it, they offer at 45% quick pay discount. How quickly that is, I don't know. I suspect they know that the longer it takes to get payment, the less they may get.

Currently, we are applying for "Financial Assistance," which would cover anything the insurance does not. (Which might be all of the treatment, actually.) The hospital also has the option of applying for "Grants."

This is a children's hospital, so I suspect there is better support for these programs, but I would try to find out if your hospital has any such programs. Ask billing and where you were treated. We found out about the program through the treatment office after insurance started rejecting the claims.

Bridget. Momma to DD (4), expecting DS - 9/09, wife to SAHD. Gardener, coffee addict, urban dweller.
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