When we last saw our intrepid Varicose Vein sufferer, they had determined that their PCP had coded correctly for their insurance purposes. (For those, whose memory is as porous as mine, VV is our shorthand for varicose veins and PCP is insurance/medical shorthand for your primary care physician, also known as your family doctor.) Now, you can get a good idea what this is going to cost you (because you always ask about the charges up front, right?).
If you are ready for an anxiety attack, hold up, because were not through here by a long shot. First we will find out if you qualify for any professional courtesy. What that means is a discount the doc will give you because there is some professional reason. You dont think that docs going to other docs for a health reason are being handed bills? That is professional courtesy and it usually is used for the immediate family as well.
There are also people who ask for professional courtesy and get it (probably not all your bill, but a percentage discount at least. If you work for the local hospital in any capacity, or for an auxiliary business the doc uses; say a pharmacy or medical equipment store. Same if your spouse does that kind of work. If you are a minister or church worker, (especially if the doc is a member of that church) its worth a try.
Some medical offices will give you a small discount if you pay your bill that day. It cant hurt to ask, in fact, you probably wont get it if you dont!)
The most important thing to know about your hospital system is if they have started a program that helps the uninsured and underinsured. They will either set you up with an easier payment plan, but in a lot of cases, they will discount your bill depending on your family income. They require a pharmacy printout showing your purchases for the last three to six months. They will want to see your W2, your last income tax, and probably a printout from your bank showing the activity for the last three to six months as well.
You might feel like its an invasion of privacy, but some people are totally astounded at the help they can be given. Depending upon your income, you could be given a 25%to 100% discount!
You will be given a card for yourself and the other members of the family. This discount is only good for that hospital system and physicians who have privileges there. Incidentally, you might ask if the hospital participates in any prescription medicine programs. That can be a huge saving as well.
Look around, especially if you live near a big city that might several hospital systems and see who might be implementing this plan. Hospitals run by religious orders might be more forward thinking in this aspect, and you dont even have to belong to their religion to access their plan. Call your local hospitals business office today!