The Artists' Guide to Health Insurance Getting Stuck with the Bill

Know this: you have an advantage in dealing with the healthcare system. Healthcare is a business, just like any other. Hospitals and doctors often view patient bills in terms of “Days Sales Outstanding.” Some healthcare providers even gauge outstanding bills in seconds. Providers want to get paid. But don’t underestimate your power in this relationship.

If you end up with medical debt, it may be tough to know where to begin. First of all, you should know what a bill represents. It lists medical services received and the dollar amount due for each. Note: the bill lists the going “retail” rate the healthcare provider bills for each service. Think of this as the MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price).

Here’s a little something most people don’t know. The remaining debt for medical services is negotiable. If your insurance company picked up the bulk of the tab and healthcare providers were paid a large percentage of what they were owed, your money is just icing on the cake at this point. And if your medical debt hasn’t been paid at all, the provider may be willing to accept a smaller fee. Hospitals and doctors are very often willing to reduce the amount owed (or even write off the debt)! You just need to call, explain your situation, and ask what you can do.

Wow, I learned so much! But that's a lot of information: is there a little review? Of course! Congratulations!

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