What if there was an easier way to negotiate a lower medical bill? The good news is that there are a few apps that are willing to help you go through the process–and could potentially save you hundreds of dollars in the process.
If you have medical bills coming in, here are four apps that will go to bat for you.
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Best Bill Negotiation Apps
This app is known for helping people manage their pay cycle on their own terms, as well as helping them avoid overdrafts. However, Earnin’ now offers help negotiating medical bills with its Health Aid feature.
All you have to do is upload a copy of your bill and the Health Aid team will look into it. They might negotiate a lower payment on the bill, or they might set up an interest-free payment plan that’s more manageable.
In any case, if you feel intimidated by your options, Earnin’ will lend a hand–for free. This app doesn’t cost anything and you can choose to “tip” if you feel it worked well for you.
With CoPatient, you send in your medical bill and their team reviews it, looking for errors. This is an app that only charges you if it finds savings.
CoPatient works by looking through your bills to see if the procedures and services were properly coded. In some cases, billing errors are due to coding, so if there’s a mistake, you might be entitled to a reduction. You might need to provide additional details in addition to scanning your medical bill.
Once you provide all the information, CoPatient’s team contacts your provider to see if you can get a discount. If you end up saving money on the bill, you’ll be charged 35% of the savings. So, for every $100 that CoPatient saves you, you’ll have to pay $35.
However, if you’re overwhelmed by the bill and not sure how to proceed, even that fee can be worth paying. You still save money and the bill is taken care of.
3. Medical Cost Advocate
Similarly to CoPatient, you sign up for Medical Cost Advocate for help with a medical bill. You sign up and confirm your patient information, as well as your medical provider. After that’s done, you can send the bill information and provide your payment details.
Once that’s all done, Medical Cost Advocate contacts your provider to negotiate the bill on your behalf. If the attempt is successful, Medical Cost Advocate takes care of the bill for you using the payment method you provided.
The cost for Medical Cost Advocate is a 35% fee, based on your savings. So, if the attempt is successful, your bill will be paid and you’ll be charged the additional fee. On the other hand, if this app isn’t able to negotiate savings on your behalf, you aren’t charged anything–but you’re responsible to pay the medical provider yourself.
How to Negotiate Medical Bills on Your Own
It’s also possible to negotiate medical bills on your own, without paying a fee to get help. However, you need to be prepared to put in the time and effort to make this work. Here are some tips on how to negotiate medical bills.
Ask for an Itemized Bill
Review an itemized bill to see what, exactly, you’re being charged for. Check the codes to see if they match the procedures you received. In some cases, you might get a bill reduction just by correcting those items. If you’re dealing with a hospital bill, see if the hospital has a patient ombudsman who can help you. These are professionals who are supposed to help you navigate costs and come up with solutions.
See if you can get a discount for upfront cash payment
In some cases, if you are willing to pay upfront, with cash, they’ll offer a discount. For example, some dentists, doctor offices and eye care professionals offer 10% to 15% discounts if you pay with cash, check or debit card. More expensive care, though, might come with a 20% to 35% discount (or more) if you’re willing to pay upfront with cash.
You can also ask for the insurance rate. Many insurers negotiate lower prices for care and services. Ask if you can get that rate if you pay upfront. Rather than spending the time and resources to bill your insurer, you pay immediately, and some care providers are willing to give you the discounted price just to avoid the headache of dealing with the insurance company.
Find out about payment plans
Some healthcare providers, including hospitals, offer interest-free payment plans. You might be able to spread your payments out over a period of several months or even years. Speak with the billing department or ombudsman about your options. You might be surprised to discover that setting up a payment plan is fairly straightforward and can make your bills manageable.
Call before it’s too late
Your best results, however, will come if you approach your healthcare provider before you’re delinquent. As soon as you get the bill, call to find out what your options are. If you ignore the bill, you’ll only pile up the penalties and interest.
While it can be scary to look at that final number, you’re most likely to manage the situation if you call early, explain your situation and see what options are possible.
It’s never easy to deal with medical billing problems. However, there are a few resources available to you. It’s possible to negotiate medical bills on your own and there are also apps that can do it on your behalf.
No matter how you decide to approach your medical bills, it’s best to tackle them head-on. Either send them to someone else to negotiate on your behalf, or take care of it yourself, but make sure you move forward before your bill is sent to collections.