Reducing Healthcare Costs through Medical Negotiation
Posted Nov 02 2009 10:01pm
This year an estimated 1.5 million Americans will declare
bankruptcy, and a study from the American Journal of Medicine suggests that more than
60 percent of people who go bankrupt are actually capsized by medical bills. Most
of these medical debtors are well educated, own homes, and have middle-class occupations;
three quarters have health insurance. >
However, medical negotiation, the practice of reviewing
and negotiating payment of your medical bills and procedures, is providing individuals
the opportunity to prevent medical bills from spiraling out of control.
“Many people don't think of medical negotiating as a practical
option to reduce their medical costs; though they anticipate negotiating when purchasing
a home or pricing a car,” says Derek Fitteron, CEO of Medical Cost Advocate (MCA),
an expert medical cost reduction company.
MCA uses health care pricing information along with data
showing the cost of typical medical and surgical procedures, and works with medical
providers to negotiate costs on behalf of the consumer. MCA will negotiate any medical
bills including those not fully covered by insurance like surgery, hospital and professional
charges and those not covered at all including cosmetic, bariatric and dental. This
can be done prior to the procedure (negotiating a set price) or after it occurs to
help arrive at a reduced price for the consumer.
“While individuals can negotiate bills themselves, they
often don’t have the skills, knowledge or time necessary to achieve success,” says
Fitteron. “MCA negotiators include attorneys and former healthcare billing professionals
that know how to negotiate bills and have industry data to leverage. All negotiations
are conducted tactfully with utmost respect for the patient provider relationship.”
With an 80% success rate of reducing bills ranging from
$250 - $250,000 by 20-50 percent, MCA follows a no-risk negotiation policy for consumers;
if they don’t save the customer money, the customer doesn’t pay.
“Consumers should make a habit of medical bill negotiation,”
says Fitteron. “Actively participating in the billing process both before and after
a procedure or treatment provides consumers with an opportunity to get their debt
under control. In todays increasingly consumer directed health care environment many
families need a trusted cost advocate on their side.”
Fitteron also offers the following five money-saving tips
to help consumers save money on their medical bills:
1. Be sure that you understand your insurance coverage.
Review and understand your insurance summary/declaration sheet and know in-network
and out-of-network provisions. Have a firm understanding of your co-payments, deductibles
and co-insurance rates and when they apply.
2. Research before buying. If you plan to use or go
out-of-network, do extensive research on a doctor’s capability and costs. A professional
like Medical Cost Advocate can help you in this process and can help you negotiate
a rate or payment plan before your procedure.
3. Take advantage of health savings accounts and other
tax advantaged products to reimburse medical expenses like HSAs, HRAs, and FSAs which
are frequently available from employers or directly.
4. Ask for details about your procedure charges including
an itemized bill with procedure costs. Be sure to wait for an Explanation of Benefits
(EOB) from your insurer, and always review both items to make sure you received what
you thought you were getting.
5. Find a trusted medical cost negotiator, like Medical
Cost Advocate, to help reduce bills. As most people lack the time, expertise or desire
to negotiate their medical bills, they should hire an expert (that works on a pay-for-performance
basis) to negotiate bills on their behalf.
About Medical Cost Advocate
Cost Advocate (MCA) is a medical cost reduction company that lowers consumers’
medical bills before or after treatment through the power of professional negotiation.
Serving consumers, their employers, benefits consultants and financial institutions,
MCA leverages industry experience and proprietary data to regularly save consumers
between twenty and fifty percent on their medical bills. MCA can negotiate any medical,
surgical or dental bill for insured and underinsured consumers. With out-of-pocket
healthcare costs steadily increasing, MCA provides the professional advocacy every
consumer needs to realize savings without risk.