Save Money: Questioning the Price (Haggling Medical)

I saved $70 today with a question. This is not uncommon for me.

I took Little Miss to the Eye Doctor to get new glasses. To make sure I was getting the most bang from my buck I scheduled an eye exam to make sure that the glasses we were going to purchase were in fact Little Miss’s actual prescription.

 For all of that to make sense you have to realize that our Eye Insurance will only cover one set of lenses and frames per calendar year. So though we got an eye exam for her before school started this year, we had to wait until the 2010 calendar year to get glasses. To make sure that her vision hadn’t changed too much between August and March  (and good gracious yes it had changed ALOT!) I called the office to see if they could re-check it for us. I then asked the lady who answered the phone whether I was going to have to pay for this visit since some follow up visits are included at no charge. She told me over the phone that at most I was looking at around $20. So imagine my surprise when the lady who works at the front checkout desk told me we owed $90 for the visit.

In shock I asked “$90? The lady on the phone told me it was going to be around $20.” 

Would you believe she told me “Ok, your visit is $20”. I got a $70 discount off of Little Miss’s Eye Exam just for mentioning I had been told a price difference.

This discount is not uncommon. It seems like we are always dealing with medical bills and really who isn’t, especially if you have a family. My rule of thumb for medical bills is that if it’s $100 or over I ask for a %15 discount to pay in full.

I word it somewhat like this:

“I have a bill under my daughter, Little Miss’s, name for $100. Would you consider a payment of $85 as paid in full?”

I never say anything about not having the money to pay the bill. I just offer an amount and 99.9% of the time they accept. In my 10 years of doing this I’ve been turned down once. If I’m feeling really ambitious that day I will ask for a %20 discount and on occasion have been taken up on it. Usually, though, %15 is standard.

My mother recently used this tip when paying for a CT Scan. She does not have insurance and was looking at a $5,000 bill for it. She called the providers bill collection department and asked if they would accept $2,500 as being “paid in full”. They accepted her offer and now she has officially beaten my record for highest dollar amount saved questioning a medical bill.

Ask about a discount on your next medical services.The worst that can happen is they will say no. Hopefully this little tip will save you as well and if it does I would love to hear about it 🙂

Littlefrugalista

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3 Responses to “Save Money: Questioning the Price (Haggling Medical)”

  1. trailerparkbarbie Says:

    BRAVO, Little F….you make a Mama proud! Some people pay agencies to do this for them. For the life of me, I can’t understand why they just don’t do it themselves. It’s not like the person is gonna jump thru the phone and give ya a pounding or something. The worse that can happen is that they will not accept your offer. But, as you wrote, most of the time they will.

  2. Save Money: Questioning the Price (Haggling Medical) « The How-to Blog Says:

    […] Save Money: Questioning the Price (Haggling Medical) […]

  3. We Already Knew This « Littlefrugalista's Blog Says:

    […] Already Knew This By littlefrugalista If you read my post about Haggling Medical Bills then you are one step ahead of the people on MSN that wrote the article about 10 Things Your […]

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