Favorite Friday: Paying for medical bills without insurance

This gem was one of my absolute favorites, so I share it with you today on our Favorite Friday series.

I wrote How To Pay For Surgery Without Health Insurance in August, 2009 (about 2 years ago).

I learned:

  1. If you are “self-pay,” which is nothing to be ashamed of (many, many people don’t have insurance, and this is what you call it), you can get around 50% discount at hospitals.
  2. Insurance must cost our economy, and hospitals (which is surely transferred back to us) too much money.  The inefficiencies and all that have to be a big part of what has driven healthcare costs through the roof.
  3. Doctors, hospitals, labs, etc. are happy to work with you, and quick to offer discounts.  See the dialog below to see how this worked for us.
  4. It’s just a matter of asking.  Some will say no, some will give a 10% discount, but if you shop around you can find significant savings… which is important when it all comes out of your pocket.

I remember calling a lab after we got their invoice and saying “we’re self pay – do you offer a discount to self-pay clients?”

She asked “what did the hospital give you?”

I responded “they gave us 50%.”

She said, “That’s what we’ll do, then.”

It was as easy as that.

Medical bills are SCARY when you are unemployed, since money is so rare.  But there are ways to get the scary part minimized… go read the post for more of the story, and see the comments.

Am I advocating not getting insurance?  DEFINITELY NOT.  Get it if you can. But not everyone can get it (that is for another post).