4 Tips to Save Money on Medical Bills

How to ensure medical bills don’t cripple your finances.

When it comes to health, there are no guarantees. Car accidents or illnesses happen when we least expect them, and we don’t have any other option than seeing a doctor. Adding insult to injury, medical bills are so high that they are impossible to pay, especially for those who don’t have insurance.

According to the Pew Hispanic Center, 14 percent of Americans and 25 percent of legal immigrants are uninsured. Even those who have insurance are struggling to pay the high costs of medical treatments. Given the impossibility of paying medical bills, consumers carry debts that only grow day by day. When consumers fail to pay medical bills, their credit is severely affected for many years.

Experts at MissMoneyBee.com recommend the following:

Talk to your doctor: Many times telling your doctor about your financial situation can save you money. While no one likes to talk about personal problems, doing it may help you to get a discount. You can tell your doctor that as much as you need medical attention, your monthly income is not enough to pay your medical bills. Also, don’t be shy when asking about alternative treatments. In many cases, doctors suggest treatments without thinking about how expensive they are. If you ask for less expensive alternatives, you could find a cheaper treatment that works for you.

Pay cash: Most medical offices have been hit by the economic crisis, and many prefer to give a discount to their patients rather than losing them. Clinics and hospitals benefit from cash payments because they don’t require any additional steps to be processed. By paying cash, you can save between 10 to 15 percent.

Look for treatment costs before going to the doctor: If you don’t have insurance, knowing the average cost of the treatment you need can help you negotiate the price with your doctor. In order to look for the price, you must first find the treatment code you need. The codes, called Current Treatments Terminology (CPT), are used by the majority of insurance companies to set prices for certain treatments. You can get the code you need through your doctor, or you can find it online. Then go to the American Medical Association site, in the CPT search, to find the cost of the medical procedure in your area. Once you know the price, you can ask for 10 to 20 percent less than what the insurance companies are charging to those who have insurance.

Find free clinics and nonprofit organizations: There are many nonprofit organizations that provide certain medical services. There are also clinics that don’t charge for some services. A good place to find some of these clinics is The National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics.