Lowering your medical bills
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- For many people, health-care costs are ballooning. Even if you have health insurance, many doctors and procedures may not be covered.
Higher deductibles and the portion the patient pays are taking a bigger bite than ever. Still, Consumer Reports says even in these tough times, you can lower your health-care costs by negotiating with your doctor, hospital, or other health-care provider.
The best time to negotiate is early in the process, before treatment is underway, especially if your insurance won't cover it. Start out by researching the cost of the treatment the doctor recommends. One site, healthcarebluebook.com, makes it easy to check prices on many procedures.
Once you know the average price of treatment, ask whether your doctor will lower your bill. Another strategy is to ask whether your doctor will settle for the typical discounted prices paid by insurance companies.
It's also a good idea to ask whether the tests and treatments being recommended are the only option. Many times there are less expensive options that are just as effective. Consumer Reports advises letting your doctor know that cost is a factor.
Hospital charges are also possible to negotiate. Make sure the billing department knows that you're willing to work out a payment plan. And then propose an amount and a timetable that you can manage.
You may not always be successful in haggling over medical costs, but don't be shy about asking. Consumer Reports advises settling all questions about cost before paying the medical bill. You'll have more leverage for bargaining that way.
health care, health insurance, consumer, christine park
- Target: 40M card accounts may be breached
- Elderly woman critically injured in Fresno house fire
- Operation Bulldog cracks down on gang members
- Fresno attorney reenacts testimony from Kai
- Man accused of killing Los Banos boy in crash changes plea
- Teen girl found dead in Madera County stream
- Homicide investigated at Porterville Developmental Center
- Valley schools prepare for new transgender law
- Valley business gear up for next Fresno State game
- FUSD improves nationally but still behind peers
- Wood burning contributes to bad air quality in the Valley
- Bad air keeps some Valley students indoors
- Health Watch: Pinpointing prostate cancer
- The new year will mean a new sheriff for Merced County
Most Viewed StoriesMost Viewed Photos