medical bills

Baby’s Here – Time for the Hospital Bill!

We knew it was coming – not our bundle of joy, she arrived last month. We were expecting something else – our doctor and hospital bill. They arrived and they were a doozy. The billing department kindly waited until we had a couple of weeks with our daughter before sending us the bills. :)

We received two separate bills- one for our OB/GYN care for the pregnancy and the actual labor and delivery costs from the hospital. Total for our portion of the bill?

$2,500

This matched the $2,500 deductible on the policy. Supposedly we’ll pay the hospital and doctor and my husband will get a  portion of that payment reimbursed. However, we aren’t going to plan that scenario into our budget, in case there’s a problem or delay.

Prompt Payment Discount

We reviewed the bill to make sure it matched what we were expecting. After confirming it looked alright, I noticed a small blurb on the bottom that mentioned a prompt payment incentive. I was going to just use our bank’s billpay feature for the hospital, but decided to instead call and see about this possible discount.

After connecting to a customer service representative and identifying myself, I asked about getting a discount. He explained that the hospital had a policy of giving up to a 15% discount if you paid your balance within 10 days of the statement’s date.

I took advantage of the deal and paid the balance on the spot. Total saved? $375 in about 10 minutes.

It really is a win-win situation. The hospital benefits by getting it’s money upfront and you get to shave down your bill. I would recommend asking for a bigger discount if the hospital offers 10% or less discount, especially if you have a large bill.

Saving for the Medical Deductible

For us automated savings is the main plan. Whenever we get a windfall such as a tax refund or bonus, having an automated deposit or transfer has helped us stay on course. While we have created some sub-savings accounts at ING Direct for specific goals, we decided to keep this in the general savings account.

Spreading Payments

If you can’t afford to pay your bill at once, check with the hospital and/or doctor to see if you can get a payment plan started. Many hospitals will be happy to work with you. Try to get a 0% interest rate if possible. I would also check and confirm that your account will be considered current as long as you make your payments.

Past due medical bills can harm your credit score, which can raise the interest rate you can get with loans like a mortgage.If we didn’t have the money, our hospital could’ve worked out a 12 month payment plan based on our balance.

Thoughts on Medical Bills

Have you ever lowered your hospital bill successfully? How did you do that? How much did you save?

Photo Credit: sunshinecity

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