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Frequent Contributor
Posts: 359
Registered: ‎04-28-2012
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Medical payment plans?

Hi all,

 

This morning my SO and I had to take a surprise  trip to the emergency room due to SO having a kidney stone.  He is fine now, thankfully.  Unfortunately, he is currently uninsured - his insurance through his school he graduated from recently expired, and he is only part-time/no benefits at his job right now, so he will be facing a SIGNIFICANT medical bill.

 

He has about $10,000 in savings as an emergency fund but a quick google search tells me the bills could exceed that.  Plus, we don't want him to have to lose all of that - we both believe having an emergency fund/safety net is important.

 

We will be meeting with financial counselors at the hospital on Monday, but I wanted to run some questions by you all before then.

 

1) Do any of you have any prior experience with setting up a payment plan through a hospital or doctor's office?  How did it work?  Did you recieve a discount for cash payment or anything like that?

 

2) What sorts of questions should we be asking at the meeting? 

 

I really appreciate any and all input from those of you with experience with this!

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Super Contributor
Posts: 7,132
Registered: ‎02-27-2013
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Re: Medical payment plans?

you might want to post this in another section. Not a lot of people read here a lot.

 

I don't have any experience with this so I can't help you. I'm sorry.

 

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Moderator Emeritus
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Registered: ‎08-04-2007
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Re: Medical payment plans?


isoldmyatlas wrote:

Hi all,

 

This morning my SO and I had to take a surprise  trip to the emergency room due to SO having a kidney stone.  He is fine now, thankfully.  Unfortunately, he is currently uninsured - his insurance through his school he graduated from recently expired, and he is only part-time/no benefits at his job right now, so he will be facing a SIGNIFICANT medical bill.

 

He has about $10,000 in savings as an emergency fund but a quick google search tells me the bills could exceed that.  Plus, we don't want him to have to lose all of that - we both believe having an emergency fund/safety net is important.

 

We will be meeting with financial counselors at the hospital on Monday, but I wanted to run some questions by you all before then.

 

1) Do any of you have any prior experience with setting up a payment plan through a hospital or doctor's office?  How did it work?  Did you recieve a discount for cash payment or anything like that?

 

2) What sorts of questions should we be asking at the meeting? 

 

I really appreciate any and all input from those of you with experience with this!


I have a little experience. We don't have health insurance and have been self-pay for years (saved us tens of thousands compared to a policy...though I guess that has to change...stupid know-nothings). We engaged in a couple payment plans. The first was pre-emptive. DW got pregnant and knew the cost would be approx. $8-$10k. We had the money set aside at the start of it, but decided to enter into a payment plan to reserve cash. We worked it out with each doc/firm (e.g. OB, pediatrician, hospital costs, etc.) that we would pre-pay for services with cash in exchange for a 20% discount over using medical ins. They jumped at the chance and we saved as did they. Win-win. So by the time the kiddo came, it was 100% paid except for a couple of lesser tests like hearing, blood work, etc.. 

 

The other involved an ER visit not too long ago. They asked for the insurance info and we told them that it's self-pay. They didn't seem to like that answer. Anyway, it all worked out and before we left they came to us offering a discount and a payment plan to pay off the balance. We never indicated we needed to do that, but I wasn't one to argue.

 

I think cash rules in the medical world. They'd much rather take your cash than fill out insurance papers which wouldn't guarantee them 100% of what they bill for. Many docs out there are canceling all insurance options in exchange for cash because they are losing money with these managed plans. So cash talks and if you were to talk to them and guarantee them a very generous and short-term payment plan, something you know you can keep, then they'll definitely work with you without hesitation. Some hospitals also have a charitable section where they provide discounts for those who aren't working. I have an employee who contracted meningitis last year through some bad food. Almost killed her and she was in the hospital for nearly a month with bills in the tens of thousands. She didn't have health insurance and the hospital picked up 100% of her bills. Definitely talk to them.

Valued Contributor
Posts: 1,485
Registered: ‎08-30-2011
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Re: Medical payment plans?

I also have some experience, but with an Orthodontist.  Paying cash for braces on 2 kids to the tune of $4600 each.  They were more than happy to work out a payment plan, a simple down payment and they carried the balance interest free.  I think many Docs are receptive to this sort of arrangement. 

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Frequent Contributor
Posts: 359
Registered: ‎04-28-2012
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Re: Medical payment plans?

Thanks everyone for the input - tomorrow morning we will meet with the financial counselors at the hospital and hopefully get an answer on what's possible.  I think we will have to ask them straight-out for a discount and payment plan.

 

I will keep you posted on the end result!

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Frequent Contributor
Posts: 474
Registered: ‎04-09-2012
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Re: Medical payment plans?

I have insurance, so if I go to the emergency room, I pay a $100 deductible.  The bill is submitted to my insurance company and the insurance company will pay up to a certain amount that is acceptable to the hospital.  So with a $10,000 hospital visit, my insurance may only pay $6000, for example, and the hospital accepts that.

 

With people without insurance, most hospitals are more than willing to offer a discount when paying by cash and offer monthly payment plans - they just want to get paid for the bill.  Your meeting with the hospital should go well.   

 

A couple years ago, a friend of mine had to have a surgery that he had to be hospitalized for.  Since he doesn't have insurance, he offered to pay upfront for a discount.  He was able to save roughly 40% of the total amount by paying cash prior to the surgery.

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