Even for people with insurance, medical bills can rapidly become overwhelming and are the number one cause of bankruptcy. It’s not just the initial expenses of an illness or injury, such as the visit to the ER, or admission to a hospital, but often the expenses that come afterwards for rehabilitation and continuing care that can last a lifetime. You can often negotiate medical debt on your own, with a little advice from some friendly professionals.
Let’s take a look at four tips for negotiating medical debt, and avoid resorting to Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
- Learn your CPT codes. CPT codes (current procedural terminology codes) are those billing codes that most people don’t know how to read. Thanks to the Internet, you too can decipher a hospital bill. Look for duplicated codes, errors in dates of service, investigate charges that seem excessive, and make sure that your insurance has paid their fair share. You should also check to see that you have not been charged for services or procedures you did not receive.
- You can use a couple of different services online to make sure that you are being charged fairly.You know how there is a Blue Book value for your car? Now there is a Blue Book for healthcare. How can you know if you are paying a fair price, if providers are not transparent about their pricing structure. Another site that’s an excellent resource is fairhealthconsumer.org – to understand the bill you need to understand your charges. Don’t be afraid to compare the price that you have been charged, to the Medicare price and use that to lower your bill.
- Know your policy and all of your deductibles. A policy can have multiple deductibles for prescription drugs, for emergency room charges, and may even not cover some out of network doctors or providers at and in network hospital. If you see errors in your bill, or that your insurance company has not fairly accounted for your deductible, you can appeal your bill and ask that it be corrected.
- Keep excellent records record every interaction with people concerned with your healthcare. This isn’t simply keeping track of appointments, but phone calls, letters, and bills. Many people find this overwhelming, and you may need the assistance of a billing advocate to help you get organized, and stay organized.
If you’re feeling a little uncertain about doing this on your own, call our offices in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. We can show you some of the tips and tricks that we use, and offer you advice on finding your best way forward. We are an experienced law firm that deals almost exclusively with debt of various kinds, using multipronged strategies to get our clients a good result. Whether it’s a consolidation loan, a bankruptcy filing, or renegotiating your debt, our professionals are here to work with you in your best interests. Call us today, and let us help.