Notices

Negotiating a Medical Bill?

Old 11-07-2010, 09:19 AM
  #1  
TSA
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: St Pete/Islamorada
Posts: 6,123
Likes: 0
Received 3 Likes on 3 Posts
Default Negotiating a Medical Bill?

I would appreciate any guidance or experiences you may have.

My 25 yo nephew who was hired a week earlier as an officer for a local police department became ill on the way to work and had to stop at an ER. He required an immediate appendectomy.

Fortunately all went well and he was home later that evening.

Unfortunately, his medical insurance at the police dept does not take effect for another month or two. The bill from the Hospital is $15k. The procedure was a typical garden variety appendectomy with no surprises or complications. It was the incision type, not the laporascopic.

Is there a way he can negotiate this bill down to a more reasonable amount? Myself and parents will probably be on the hook for the payment seeing that he doesn't have the financial ability yet to pay.

Thanks in advance.

jim

Last edited by TSA; 11-07-2010 at 01:02 PM. Reason: spelling
Old 11-07-2010, 10:14 AM
  #2  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Posts: 8,781
Likes: 0
Received 16 Likes on 12 Posts
Default

Glad to hear that your nephew is OK!

Well, as enticing as the obama plan seems, I would think that you would rather want to contact the billing dept for the hospital and let them know of the situation.

I've been part of an HMO for years, and we always get copies of the bills that our insurance company pays. The amounts that we see billed are ridiculous! But we also see the amounts that are agreed to by the hospital for the services rendered and paid for by the insurance company.

I don't recall the actual amounts, but I do recall that back a few years ago when I spent a week in the hospital with pneumonia, the total was $19K! My insurance companies' portion was less then $5K! (my portion was $0, BTW ).

So if the hospital was willing to accept $5K for a $19K bill from the insurance company, then why not from your nephew? (sure, I know, they have a contract...)

But you know what I'm getting at. It's all about the negotiation...


Or, as an alternate, I'm sure he noticed that there was a sign in the admission area that states that if he couldn't pay his bill, he can always request a hardship consideration. Either way, they have to treat you as an emergency patient, which it sounds like they did. Call them on that option. It works for the no-speak-English and welfare types every day around here, so why not for him??? ;?

Good luck!
Old 11-07-2010, 11:34 AM
  #3  
Senior MemberCaptains Club MemberPLEDGER
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Cullowhee,NC,USA
Posts: 1,189
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default

My wife is a doc. She is 78% medicaid or uninsured. They treat any sick child who waks through the door...regardless of ability to pay. Heck they are happy to get reimbursement from medicaid even though the rates are low. The surgeons are in even worse shape. To maintain Hosp. privileges they have to do whatever surgery is required when on call. I think they collect less than half of what they bill. That would be a good starting point on the surgeon bills. Contact the Hosp. billing office and offer 40%.
Also consider bankruptcy as an option if he has no assets.
Old 11-07-2010, 11:40 AM
  #4  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 6,069
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default

Glad he's ok and try anything you can to negotiate the bill down.

I hope everyone bashing healthcare reform sees this as exactly why healthcare needs reforming.Not saying what happened is the fix but it is very very broken A 25 year old shouldn't be without insurance. Just imagine if he would have something worse, that pain could have easily been lymphoma and he would have been looking at 100's of thousands in treatment. What would he have done? You can't plan medical emergencies. He's very lucky.
Old 11-07-2010, 11:50 AM
  #5  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Central Florida
Posts: 740
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default

Just tell the hospital that he is starting work as a police officer, and is learning how to write tickets. Oh, do y'all drive to work?
Then make his offer to pay what he can. Or a reasonible payment scedule.
If they agree, pay the first payment by check or get a receit. Going by uniform commercial code, this constitutes a "contract" to pay and accepting the first payment says they agree to his terms.
Does his police force have a union? Can't they help?
Old 11-07-2010, 12:18 PM
  #6  
Admirals Club Admiral's Club Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Mechanicsville VA
Posts: 8,549
Received 989 Likes on 549 Posts
Default

I've determined this is what I would do in this situation.....contact someone in accounts recievable and offer them $3k-5k...but in order to get them to accept it your going to have to be able to pay them that amount NOW. If they decline simply say you'll send them a few bucks whenever you get a paycheck and a bill comes in.
Old 11-07-2010, 12:37 PM
  #7  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Chapel Hill and PKS, North Carolina
Posts: 7,322
Received 441 Likes on 260 Posts
Default

How can a police officer work without insurance? What if he is injured on the job this week, is he covered for that?
Old 11-07-2010, 12:42 PM
  #8  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: NC
Posts: 2,436
Received 815 Likes on 447 Posts
Default

Originally Posted by gort View Post
Glad he's ok and try anything you can to negotiate the bill down.

I hope everyone bashing healthcare reform sees this as exactly why healthcare needs reforming.Not saying what happened is the fix but it is very very broken A 25 year old shouldn't be without insurance. Just imagine if he would have something worse, that pain could have easily been lymphoma and he would have been looking at 100's of thousands in treatment. What would he have done? You can't plan medical emergencies. He's very lucky.
BS government healthcare or not, we pay for the bills that don't get paid. We can either pay the government to run it in their usual inefficient manner or we can pay an increased insurance premium due to the cost the medical community has to make up due to non-payments. There is already so much tax money wasted on Medicare Medicaid fraud it is almost unbelievable. Wait until they get their single payer system.
Old 11-07-2010, 12:48 PM
  #9  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: NC
Posts: 2,436
Received 815 Likes on 447 Posts
Default

TSA - the answer is contact the hospital and set up payments. I did it when I was young and had no insurance and survived it. If you can get the bill reduced all the better.
Old 11-07-2010, 01:01 PM
  #10  
TSA
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: St Pete/Islamorada
Posts: 6,123
Likes: 0
Received 3 Likes on 3 Posts
Default

Originally Posted by glacierbaze View Post
How can a police officer work without insurance? What if he is injured on the job this week, is he covered for that?

He signed up for med insurance on day one, however eligibility for benefits for some reason does not start on day one as far as he has been told. I have to assume if he was injured in the line of duty, it would fall under WC.

We are not the type to let bills go unpaid or to not pay for services rendered. Just looking for someone who works on the billing side, or someone who has experience with a similar situation who can give me an idea what a fair price would be for such a procedure.

Not really looking to start a political discussion. Thanks.
Old 11-07-2010, 01:16 PM
  #11  
Bly
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member Admiral's Club Member
THT sponsor
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: south jersey
Posts: 6,663
Likes: 0
Received 15 Likes on 13 Posts
Default Go in and ask to pay the Insurance rate. My wife works in management at a hospital an

Originally Posted by TSA View Post
He signed up for med insurance on day one, however eligibility for benefits for some reason does not start on day one as far as he has been told. I have to assume if he was injured in the line of duty, it would fall under WC.

We are not the type to let bills go unpaid or to not pay for services rendered. Just looking for someone who works on the billing side, or someone who has experience with a similar situation who can give me an idea what a fair price would be for such a procedure.

Not really looking to start a political discussion. Thanks.
Their policy is to offer a customer with out insurance the same price if they are willing to pay now. I am not saying all hospitals will do it, but give it a try. Start at 70% off the bill. To Gort I hope you dont really think there is anything in Obamas mess that is actually health care reform?$?$?$ Yes we need health care reform. but not universal govt health care. No Way.
Old 11-07-2010, 01:35 PM
  #12  
Senior MemberCaptains Club MemberPLEDGER
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Northern Ohio
Posts: 15,961
Received 1,849 Likes on 989 Posts
Default

I was in the hospital for a broken leg and my hospital bill came to $41,984 if you can believe that! I had one bill from the Occupational Therapy girl that came into my room and said she would be in the next morning @ 9a to show me how to get up and down steps, how to dress myself, etc. Well she never showed up, but there was a charge on my bill for $877. I called the hospital billing department and told them the girl never showed up and I wasn't paying the bill. The billing women said "well your insurance company paid the bill." I told her I didn't care and I wanted it credited. Then she said that maybe I just didn't remember that she came to my room. Well then I started to get pissed off. I told her the amount of the hospital bill was outragous enough, I sure in hell wasn't paying for something that wasn't done.

They credited my hospital bill but my co-pay for the entire bill was 20% and I asked if I could make monthly payments on the bill, she said yes. Then I asked what the minimum payment I could make every month, she said they like to see 10% paid monthly but they have accepted payments of $20/month.

I think your family would be better off negotiating payment terms, -vs- trying to reduce a charge. I personally know people that have been paying on their hospital bills for 2 years or more. I don't know if it will effect your credit as long as you are paying something every month but I don't think it will.

Russ
Old 11-07-2010, 01:43 PM
  #13  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Posts: 8,781
Likes: 0
Received 16 Likes on 12 Posts
Default

Originally Posted by TSA View Post
He signed up for med insurance on day one, however eligibility for benefits for some reason does not start on day one as far as he has been told. I have to assume if he was injured in the line of duty, it would fall under WC.







Yes, that is true. Medical, dental, etc... benefits do not start until usually after 90 days (and I've heard up to 6 months) of employment. His agency may vary.

And yes, you assumed correctly. If he was injured on the job, workers comp will cover any medical bills...


Whatever he does, he better make plans as soon as possble. Medical bills are at the top of the list for bringing down credit scores once they are reported as bad debts. And they will be reported...
Old 11-07-2010, 01:52 PM
  #14  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
THT sponsor
 
Schmaltz~Herring's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Cruising Lake Titikacka On My 18' Bayliner~Soon Upgrading to a 45' SeaVee With Quint 450's
Posts: 18,124
Received 1,364 Likes on 690 Posts
Default

Originally Posted by glacierbaze View Post
How can a police officer work without insurance? What if he is injured on the job this week, is he covered for that?

That would be Workers Comp.

Everything is negotiable, including health professionals.
Old 11-07-2010, 01:55 PM
  #15  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 9,026
Received 792 Likes on 366 Posts
Default

Health Insurance for muncipal employees starts 3 months after the start/hire date for employees in FLA. State law.
Old 11-07-2010, 03:18 PM
  #16  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Central Florida
Posts: 8,400
Received 1,008 Likes on 548 Posts
Default

Just to stir the pot, my wife just spent 7 days in ICU. No "procedures, surgeries". Bills so far are roughly $84K. Our out of pocket max is $10K. From an insurance standpoint, she will have significant 'pre-existing conditions' for the rest of her life. Hopefully the new rules will help us to obtain reasonable insurance by expanding the products available. Currently, none of the national trade groups i belong to offers a group health plan. Under the new law, I believe the state by state limitations will be loosened, and more national trade groups can set up a benefit plan for members.

To the OP - At a minimum, see if they will accept what they would receive from Medicare or a major insurance carrier. If it is an affiliate of Florida Hospital, pm me as I know someone who might be able to help.
Old 11-07-2010, 03:22 PM
  #17  
Senior MemberCaptains Club MemberPLEDGER
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: West Carolina
Posts: 22,022
Received 1,596 Likes on 864 Posts
Default

TSA, unless you and your parents signed to be the payor responsible for his bill, a 25 year old is an adult and it is between him and the hospital. I am not saying he should try and beat them out of the bill but I don't see how y'all could possibly be ultimitely responsible.

He needs to do what everybody said above and try and negotiate both the bill as well as payments. If y'all want to help him that would be a nice gesture.
Old 11-07-2010, 03:46 PM
  #18  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Posts: 8,781
Likes: 0
Received 16 Likes on 12 Posts
Default

Originally Posted by Shag View Post
He needs to do what everybody said above and try and negotiate both the bill as well as payments.






As usual with negotiations, cash talks and BS walks...

If either you or him are in a position to cut a check, make your negotiations based off of a one-time, in full payment (they will like/prefer that). Just be prepared to back up your offer by writing a check for the full amount of your offer when they accept it.

Just be sure and get the offer of acceptance in writing! Make sure it spells out the offer in full and that no future payments/obligation will be expected.

I would only make a payment offer as a last resort...

If it was me, I'd start my offer at $2,500 and go from there. You can always go up, but it is tough to go down. I'd throw in the hardship factor and the possibility of being forced to file for BK if an agreement can't be made. That should motivate them to work with him/you.
Old 11-07-2010, 03:56 PM
  #19  
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 22
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default

Hospitals legally cannot charge any interest on any outstanding bills. Set up a payment plan and pay as you go. I agree that they are ridiculously over priced and my wife is a doctor.

Brad
Old 11-07-2010, 03:59 PM
  #20  
TSA
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: St Pete/Islamorada
Posts: 6,123
Likes: 0
Received 3 Likes on 3 Posts
Default

Originally Posted by Shag View Post
TSA, unless you and your parents signed to be the payor responsible for his bill, a 25 year old is an adult and it is between him and the hospital..............
Yes. We know that legally it is between him and the hospital. Since his parents are both gone, between my parents and I, we have more or less taken care of him and put him through 4 years of college. He is a good kid who is still just a bit naive about how certain things work. Medical care being one of them. Hate to see him agree to pay a large debt that may be inflated and unrealistic.

He was seen in Altamonte Springs. I think it is an affiliate of FL Hospital. As mentioned, a good starting point may the Ins company max allowable whatever that may be. Mine is BCBS, I'll give them a call tomorrow to see if they can give me an idea. Not optimistic though.

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.