Okay, I admit it---this can be a little deceptive.
But let's face it, doctor bills are extremely high off the charts- literally.
A doctor's professional service is greatly valued but the billing system with medical bills is "broken." If you don't have insurance, to put it bluntly-- you're screwed.
And even if YOU DO have insurance, you're still stuck with a large bill that might take years to pay off.
5 years ago, my cousin was hospitalized for appendicitis. They had to remove his appendix because it was causing sharp pains, to the point it was becoming unbearable. Fast forward later he gets a large bill in the mail in the upwards of thousands.
Didn't know exactly how much but let's just say it almost hospitalized him again just looking at the bill.
That's when I taught him some negotiation tactics. Tactics that eventually lowered his payment and worked out a doable plan for paying off his medical bills.
What were the tactics? There were 3 main ones.
#1 Tactic: The Sympathy Approach
When negotiating for your doctor bill, get sympathy. Not too much but let the billing department know how much of a bad financial situation you are. What does that mean?
- Tell them you lost your job, unemployed
- You're in debt
- You are still a student, and not working yet
- Dress like a bum
- Downplay your career and everything that can clue them you have any money
- Say you have little family or relatives that can help, and no friends
I know this is starting to be depressing but it works. If they can feel pain they'll give you a break.
#2 Tactic: Empty Pockets
Similar to the first tactics but a little more strategic. This involves letting know them know:
- You're "poor" financial situation, ask for a form where you'd be glad to show them your "assets" or lack thereof
- It's "all you can afford"
- If they can't accept lower payments, then they'll get nothing
- Tell them collection agencies are already after you so it doesn't make a difference if they do that, they'll end up losing more money if they don't negotiate with you
- Tell them you asked around for all the money you can borrow so this is the best you can come up with
The strategy is to let them know that YOU ARE WILLING TO PAY but under your plan because if they don't they won't get much and end up losing more.
#3 Tactic: Act confused and dumb
This tactic usually works but if you play the part well, they will feel sorry for you. This is not to be confused with the sympathy approach BUT if you act like you are unintelligent, they can't help but make sure they assist you with attention. They will be open to any alternatives you may give.
This works if you're a good actor/actress so brush up on your acting skills.
In the end, my nephew got his doctor bills lowered and under a payment plan that was workable. Granted, it was still "a lot" but applying these 3 tactics saved him money. Overall a lifetime, negotiation skills will save you tens of thousands and maybe even hundreds of thousands.