Thursday, January 21, 2016

Money Talks

     Especially money you owe and don't have.  Went to pay one medical bill last night and found two more, all from my eye problem when the glob of clear gel in my left eye decided to pull away from the retina.  After insurance, it's about $1000.

     Meanwhile, the "bad spot" on my left upper jaw has flared up again, with the skin opened up and a lot of swelling and pain.

     All this tells me I'm going to go into work and suck it up.  Gotta pay the bills.  Gotta keep the animal running.  I'm damned if I know why, other than it's lousy to be sleeping in a cardboard box under a bridge, but I hate being cold at least that much.


JayNola said...

Have you tried calling and negotiating. I've found recently, gratis of about 130k in bills from a trip to the er and subsequent surgery, once the organization has their check from insurance they may cut you a break.

Roberta X said...

I have never heard of this. Why would they do that? My experience is they want their money, in full and on time, or they garnish your wages.

Anonymous said...

I can attest from 1st hand experience to the validity of what Jay has said. Be cordial but firm. I've done this both with insurance companies and directly with doctors.

Me mum worked for a large ins underwriter which provided health coverage. She explained that they have a greater latitude in making financial arrangements then they'll let on to the public. It's something they like to keep as a secret.

A friend who was long time nurse also said to always audit any medical billing. You may be incredulous about what is billed or the number of billing errors. I imagine it is worse since there are now thousands of more billing codes courtesy of Ojackass.

Anonymous said...

*veracity. I think that word better suits what I was saying.

Jeffrey Smith said...

What Jay said.
Start by saying you can't pay any of it because of other bills. Which is true, since we all have other bills all the time.

They may write off some of it. At the very least they will work out a payment plan, f.i. $100 a month for ten months. "In full, at once" is merely the myth they want you to believe.

Raz Raxxaffian said...

I have had several situations when I had medical bills I couldn't afford to pay. Many hospitals and doctors will allow you to make a payment plan, sometimes for paltry monthly amounts. These terms are usually negotiated by phone.

It is definitely worth doing, no shame in it. Remember, you are making a legitimate effort to pay, not to dodge the bill entirely. Also, it is fair and reasonable to ask for a reduction of a large bill. Worst they can do is say no.

Keep on Truckin'

Anonymous said...

The negotiating thing *can* work, give it a try.

At the time of service, ask if they have a discount for cash on the barrel-head.

Also consider building a cash reserve, over time. I know it ain't easy, but your schedule varies with some OT, consider budgeting OT to the reserve fund.

The gig economy is making an impact on how folks get paid for services.

OldTexan said...

I had some cancer things over the years and before I reached Medicare age I was paying a lot for insurance that only covered part of the cost. I spoke to several doc friends and they told me to negotiate the amount owed first and then, don't ask, but just start making payments, as much I could afford each month. It seems as if the whole medical community has a lot of this going on and at first my wife was uncomfortable not paying the full amount since that was what she understood that we owed and she wants to pay our bills in full.

I made a mistake one time with an anesthesiologist bill that was way too high. I went back and forth for several months explaining in letters and calls that they would not be paid the full amount. Then I sent a letter offering to pay 60% and it crossed in the mail with their letter telling me they would be happy with 50% which I paid. Of course I got another bill for the remaining 10% since I had signed a letter telling them I would pay that amount.

Now when it comes to anything not covered like dental I discuss up front what can be adjusted for me due to old age, fixed income and everything else and I have found that docs, dental and otherwise don't mind playing let's make a deal. It's still not easy paying for my new bridge and I won't have anymore ammo or gun money for the next six months but life goes on.

I wish life were a bit more simple and I did not have to play let's make a deal like a Bedouin trying to buy a used camel.

Roberta X said...

I make decent money. I cannot honestly argue from inability to pay, though sometimes I'm not able to pay immediately. So, I might not have money left over for shiny toys? Not sure I could look at myself in the mirror afterwards.

JayNola said...

It really isn't about inability to pay. The medical facility negotiates a price with insurance companies for the services you receive. Generally it's may be 50% of the billed number it may be 10% of the billed value. You have agreed, generally, to pay a 90 / 10 split with the insurance company. If the insurance companies' 90% was reduced by half generally the hospital will reduce your 10% by half. It's haggling.

JayNola said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joseph said...

"Money talks. The last thing you want to hear it say is good-bye."---seen on an ad for a financial adviser

Ken said...

Seems as though I say this often (and it's really insufficient unto the day), but I'm sorry for your trouble.