Medical Bills are one the the leading causes of bankruptcy in the U.S , but many patients are not aware there are ways to cut costs.
Before any large medical procedure, inquire about costs and ask the hospital or care provider whether all caregivers involved, including anesthesiologists are within your insurer's network.
If you don't have insurance, try to negotiate up front. Hospitals routinely charge different patients different prices based on agreements it has with insurers. Especially if you're uninsured, your hospital's billing department may work out a lower price or payment plan for you.
When you do receive a huge bill, ask questions. Most hospitals do not sending itemized bills to patients, just a summary. Request an itemized bill and if you have insurance, ask your insurer to audit it. Last year when I faced a bill of more than $30,000 I asked my insurance company for an audit. Several months later, the hospital sent me a $748 refund to correct several billing errors.
And finally, save on prescriptions. When your doctor prescribes medication, ask if there less expensive alternatives or generics.
And if you have a low income, you may qualify for free or discounted medicine programs available through most major drug companies. The Prescription Assistance Program helps patients find discounted medications.
If you want to negotiate a bill you may want to hire a patient advocate. The Patient Advocate Foundation is a good place to start.