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Negotiating Health Care Bills

Did you know you can negotiate hospital and other medical bills? Here are bargaining strategies to keep in mind when doing so.

Reviewed by
Kate Grayson

The Four Stages of Negotiating Medical Bills

I like to divide health care bill negotiations into four stages.

  1. Soliciting quotes: This is when you're shopping around for different providers and have the most negotiating and bargaining power!
  2. Before the procedure or purchase: At this stage, you will have already chosen your provider. This is when you want to: triple confirm your insurance coverage, negotiate your payment plans/discounts, and come up with your plan to pay for the procedure
  3. After the procedure: Once you get your bill, was it more than you were expecting? Then you want to enter into post-procedure negotiation. In this stage, you want to: check your superbill for any errors, get any insurance coverage issues corrected, and negotiate payment plans/discounts with your provider.
  4. When a bill is in collections: You have the least amount of power here, so we want to focus on negotiating at stages 1-3, so that your bill never goes into collections. Sometimes that's unavoidable, so at this stage you want to: contact the collections agency immediately, pay off the debt asap, and try to get them to hold off on reporting it to credit bureaus.

How to Negotiate Medical Bills

Here are my main negotiation tips. This applies to medical bill negotiations, but also any other time of financial negotiation too!

  1. Be polite and friendly.
  2. State your problem.
  3. Show your loyalty.
  4. Ask how they can help you.
  5. Thank them.
  6. Don't give up — call back if you don't get an answer you like!

Photo by Diva Plavalaguna from Pexels

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