10 Aug Cash-Pay Versus High Deductible Insurance Plans
High-deductible plans are more common today because of the low insurance premium they offer. This will automatically reduce the amount of money you have to pay for health insurance annually. However, when you need medical care and your deductible is very high, you will most likely become a cash-pay patient. If you want to pay for medical bills, prescription drugs and medical tests out of pocket, you need to know how to negotiate to get the lowest price. Use the following tips to make it easier to get good discounts when choose to pay cash.
- Pay Up Front
To get a discounted price from your hospital or doctor, you should offer to pay up front for their services. As soon as you have consulted your doctor and you agree on a particular fee, negotiate it by offering to pay cash up front. This method works because most healthcare providers including imaging services wait for a long period of time before their bills are settled by health insurance companies. The fact that they will receive their money quickly is enough to make them offer you a lower price.
- Offer What Health Insurance Companies Pay
Unknown to many people, most health insurance companies do not pay what the hospitals or doctors write on your medical bill. The insurance companies negotiate with your health care providers and eventually pay a reduced price. So when you decide to pay cash and the hospital or physician doesn’t have to wait for the health bill to be processed, you can negotiate by offering to pay the equivalent of what the insurance companies pay.
- Don’t Use a Credit Card
Paying with a credit card will attract processing fees that will eventually be passed onto you. Although some health insurance plans offer health discount cards, the card processing fees usually negate the benefits of the discount. Neither the health insurance company nor your healthcare provider will take responsibility for the processing fee; it will be passed on to you. Instead of using a credit card, pay with a check so you don’t incur extra fees.
- Shop Around for the Lowest Price
Not all health facilities and doctors charge the same price for a particular medical service. So you should find out the price that various doctors and hospitals in your locality charge for the service you need. This applies to all kinds of services including medical exams, MRI scans, lab tests and various surgical procedures. You can get good price estimates by looking up prices in a Health Blue Book or similar publications that have a list of medical service providers and their prices.
These are some of the ways to obtain a discount when you are paying out-of-pocket for medical care. The main disadvantage of opting for cash-pay on high-deductible insurance plans is that your medical bills will not count when you are calculating your deductible because you did not submit your claims to your health insurer. So if you expect to have a substantial medical expense, like a prolonged hospital stay or surgery, you should allow your medical service providers to submit all your claims to your health insurance company to ensure that the major medical expenses are covered.
Dr. Sue Reddy specializes in the treatment of infectious disease among many other specialties. She understands what is required to live a healthy, active life. Please feel free to take a look around her website and if you feel she provides services you may be interested in, give Dr. Reddy a call. Her staff would be more than happy to set up an appointment and answer any questions you may have.