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Negotiating healthcare costs

Negotiating healthcare costs

By Karen Stiles. CREATED Jun 9, 2012

MILWAUKEE - Do you need help paying medical bills? You might want to consider negotiating with your doctor or medical facility.

Now more than ever, it is important to become aware of the cost to obtain medical services, how much insurance will pay, and what options and alternatives are available, especially if you lack adequate insurance to pay for these services.

• When possible, shop around for your medical services before you need to obtain them. There are a number of resources such as the Wisconsin Price Point System and Medicare.gov.

These sites offer a lot of helpful information on everything from costs for medical procedures and hospital stays, quality issues, and levels of satisfaction with services rendered.

• Before obtaining services, talk with you doctor, clinic or hospital, making them aware of your situation, and asking if there are alternative options, or if fees and costs can be reduced or waived.

•  If you lack insurance or the funds to pay co-payments and deductibles, do not be afraid to ask for a discount, payment plan, or information about charity programs that could help reduce some of the costs that you will be expected to pay.

If you have to obtain emergency services and are unable to shop around, contact the hospital's financial aid office or a hospital social worker and ask for help.