by Wiley Long
President
HSA for America

How to Use a Medical Bill Negotiator to Lower Your Health Savings Account Expenses


As medical expenses continue to rise, more consumers are taking advantage of medical bill negotiation services. These companies are familiar with the discounts negotiated by large companies, insurance companies, PPO networks, and other big players, so are familiar with what the "lowest available price" might be. If you use one of these services, you only pay if they are indeed able to negotiate a discount.

Lower Those Medical Expenses!

Being swamped with medical expenses isn't anyone's idea of the "American Dream", but many are living through it anyway. One of the biggest problems associated with this catastrophe has nothing to do with the amount of times you visit the doctor annually, but the amount charged by the hospitals you visit.

Finding the prices at various hospitals can seem impossible and would take some calling and probing around to get list prices or ranges of actual rates. In fact, if you are able to get a "price sheet" from the insurance company, the prices you will see will be rarely paid by any of their visitors. That is because large companies, PPO networks, and Health Maintenance Organizations all negotiate special discounts for their employees and members.

By using medical bill negotiation services (special rates are sometimes available with some HSA providers), individuals can keep their medical bills smaller and savings accounts larger. With this type of service, you can get the same discounted prices the above entities receive or better, with no up-front costs. This could end up lowering your medical exposure by hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

Many may wonder how they can tell whether or not they are getting a good deal or not, especially if they are paying for a high deductible health plan. Even if you have a PPO or other insurance provider that offers lower medical expenses, you don't necessarily have the guarantee of getting the lowest rates. A good bill negotiation service will have an indepth understanding of the costs, and lowest available prices in a geographic area.

Getting a Good Deal on Health Care

There are many ways to lower your annual medical cost. The first way is to simply be a good consumer. Just like with any other purchase, it is important to look around for the best value, and don't be afraid to bargain. Individuals don't typically have the negotiating power to talk down medical expenses with a health care provider, which is why it important to use a service that can do this.

Millions of people are now choosing high deductible health plans in combination with an HSA as the best way to insure themselves. These plans are much less expensive than copay plans, and offer a tax deduction for any money you put aside to cover future medical expenses. But they do have high deductibles, so you still want to pay as little as possible before your insurance coverage kicks in.

The Medical Bill Negotiator

With a medical bill negotiator you can easily try to lower your medical bills. Most companies will require that you have a minimum of $200 in the bill you need reduced. You can sometimes use the website of the negotiating company to submit your claim or you can mail or fax it in. Once the negotiator receives it, they will be able to compare the prices for the same services at different health providers in the geographical area. If there are lower prices, the negotiator will contact the health provider of the claim and attempt to negotiate a lower rate. If successful, the individual will split the savings (usually around 70% for the individual and the rest for the company). If the negotiation wasn't successful, the individual doesn't have to pay a penny.

Individuals are saving anywhere from 5 to 80% by using a medical bill negotiating services. Bill negotiation services report savings of 20-37% for imaging and radiology, 15 - 33% for anesthesia, 10 - 80% at surgery centers, and 5 - 48% on dialysis. Patient advocates are available with most companies to assist you and discuss the medical claims you have.

Saving Money is the Main Goal

In this time of rising gas prices and a falling stock market, keeping more money in your Health Savings Account is an everyday hassle. Anything that can help individuals save money is something that should be looked into. This can be even more achievable by using your Health Savings Account and a medical bill negotiator.

One shouldn't have to pay retail prices for prescriptions drugs or lab tests - it is always wise to do comparison-shopping. An HSA-qualified health insurance plan can allow individuals to save money in their Health Savings Account to pay for medical expenses. Individuals can also save money on medical expenses by allowing an insurance agent to shop around for affordable coverage each year. More can be read about these services on our Additional Benefits page.

Taking responsibility of medical expenses is what every American should do; and by using these services, more money can be saved each year.

By Wiley Long - President, HSA for America - The nation's leading independent health insurance firm specializing in HSA-qualified Plans that work with Health Savings Accounts.

HSA for America
749 S. Lemay Ave, Suite A3-116
Fort Collins, CO 80524
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