New York Times has an interesting article with tips on how to reduce hospital bills. A very simple tip is – always question the hospital on why the treatment costs so much and take a chance to bargain for discounts. Especially when you don’t have insurance cover and admitted into Emergency wards, you can drastically reduce the final bills by negotiating.
If the final bill is beyond your means, it will pay to bargain – particularly if you do not have insurance.
"The majority of hospitals will discount private paying patients’ bills," Ms. Leone said. "Most hospitals are generous in their discounts."
You can negotiate even when you have insurance. Two years ago Lisa Cullen’s father, Thomas Reilly, became very ill and made three trips to the emergency room. Each visit cost about $15,000. Mr. Reilly’s insurer contested some of the charges, and the family ultimately was left owing the hospital $11,000.
The hospital was able to reduce the bill to $5,000. "I was surprised to learn hospitals would rather receive partial payment than no money at all," Ms. Cullen, a writer in Leonia, N.J., said. Often you can work out a payment plan with the hospital whereby you pay your bill in installments rather than all at once.
Negotiate with doctors, too, over their individual bills.
Check the NY Times article for more information and other useful tips
Demystifying, and Maybe Decreasing, the Emergency Room Bill [The New York Times via Lifehacker]