Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Negotiating Medical Bills

Cancer cannot only devastate the body , it can devastate the pocketbook as well. I know from personal experience. So in this entry I would like to educate people on something few know about but certainly anyone with cancer should regardless of its origin.

There is a federal law referred to as Hill-Burton. Within this law, hospitals are allowed to maintain tax-exempt status in return for providing a certain amount of services to patients who could otherwise not afford them.

Virtually every hospital has a Financial Services Department. This is the department you should be communicating with, not the billing or collections or any other department!

Request financial aid/charity forms and let them know about your situation. There are guidelines and unfortunately, there are maximum incomes as with most programs but for many, this could be a Godsend. Many hospitals, once approved, will then waive any co-pays, deductibles and co-insurances beyond what your insurance will pay. This is one way to keep more of the money that YOU desperately need. You will need to get past any ego issues about asking for charity but most people in this situation are far beyond that anyway.

You will need to provide documentation but it isn't really all that complex and certainly nothing compared to what you need to provide to file a bankruptcy.

In the coming weeks a number of other financial topics will be discussed here, including negotiating COBRA payments with your hospital, ways to obtain medications at no cost, and yes that dreaded subject - bankruptcy. I hope you will join and contribute any programs or organizations so I can compile them within the website It certainly would be much easier to do a "one stop shopping"now wouldn't it?