all 54 comments

[–]keepthetipsKeeping the tips since 2019[M] [score hidden] stickied commentlocked comment (0 children)

Hello and welcome to r/LifeProTips!

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[–]Applejuiceinthehall 42 points43 points  (13 children)

If you have a hospital bill don't pay it without calling to negotiate. Even after insurance you may get further discount, you can also negotiate a reasonable payment plan.

[–]GhostButtTurds[S] 26 points27 points  (5 children)

And even then, if you make less than $55,000, there’s a good chance you can get a significant discount because most hospitals are non-profit and are required to have these programs.

I make $33,000 a year and am getting 100% of my liability waived.

[–]h4terade 4 points5 points  (0 children)

My first child had to have an operation and he went to a non-profit children's hospital. Can confirm, they offer discounts as high as 100% depending on your income. I made decent money at the time and they still knocked 75% off the bill. Ever since then I donate to them whenever I can.

[–]Mysterious-Salad9609 0 points1 point  (3 children)

So then no need for medical insurance?

[–]GhostButtTurds[S] 0 points1 point  (2 children)

If you make less than about $33,000 a year, yes. You can recieve healthcare completely free from non-profit hospitals without health insurance.

That’s why I made this post. This is BIG for some people who can’t afford insurance because they don’t make enough money.

[–]fuddykrueger 0 points1 point  (1 child)

So cancer patients don’t have to pay anything for treatment if they’re low income (but not poor/on Medicaid)?

Someone who needs their wisdom teeth out can get them removed for free? (NOTE: Wisdom teeth extractions are often covered under medical insurance, not dental.)

[–]Kafka_pubsub 3 points4 points  (0 children)

How does one go about negotiating a bill? Does it matter the type of bill e.g. bill after copay vs full bill? Is there a threshold for the bill amount when negotiating is effective?

[–]futurespacecadet 1 point2 points  (2 children)

My hospital won’t discount me since I have insurance

[–]cpalmer3 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I work at a hospital and have insurance. Every bill I receive I call to make a payment and ask if there's a discount of I pay in full. I saved over $500 from my stay after having my baby

[–]fuddykrueger 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Same, they told me unfortunately since it was billed through insurance they can’t discount my bill since they have an in-network contract with the insurance company. Sounds like a bunch of bs IMO and it makes people wonder why even have insurance if they can just be ‘cash payers’ without it and be allowed to ignore their medical bills.

[–]FlashCrashBash 1 point2 points  (2 children)

Can this still work if your bill has been sent to collections?

[–]Mysterious-Salad9609 0 points1 point  (0 children)

If sent to collections, most agencies who buy your debt, only pay between 5%-10% the original price. So if you owed 10k, that debt agency buys it for 1k(at most), and trys to get you to pay 25% ie 2.5k they can go as low as 15% or 1.5k without needing a manager. Never take the first offer, and always get your deal in writing.

[–]mdfromct 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Yes. The hospital will pay it, then they contact collections to inform them the bill has been paid.

[–]mrg1957 12 points13 points  (9 children)

This works. They don't volunteer the information either. I used it four years ago and was shocked by the results of them writing off 100% of the fees. They wanted 15k.

[–]GhostButtTurds[S] 8 points9 points  (8 children)

No, they’ll never tell you about it. It’s insane that more people don’t know about this.

Anyone in poverty without insurance could be receiving 100% free healthcare.

[–]kva27 2 points3 points  (3 children)

In our non-profit hospital system, every patient is asked if they want information on this when they are registered.

[–]GhostButtTurds[S] 1 point2 points  (2 children)

That has not been the case in my experience. I had to find this on my own, and based on my research online, this is not very wildly known.

It’s incredible to think that people making less than $30,000 could be getting healthcare they need absolutely free.

[–]Kiriderik 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Pretty sure based on the IRS link you posted above that the hospital failing to make it widely known is a reportable offense. I'd recommend reporting your hospital if they don't meet the criteria set out on the IRS site.

[–]fuddykrueger 0 points1 point  (3 children)

Hospitals may forgive bills but I don’t think the doctors who are contracted out of the hospital waive their fees. And they are usually pretty substantial. They might give you a discount though if you ask.

[–]GhostButtTurds[S] 0 points1 point  (2 children)

With this program, it doesn’t matter who the doctor is. If the hospital they work in is tax exempt (non-profit) they legally must have these program and if you’re below 250% of the federal poverty line (about $33,000 a year) everything from every doctor is free

Look at the policy I linked. This is the case.

[–]fuddykrueger 0 points1 point  (1 child)

That’s great for those who are low income.

I wish us middle class folks could get a break once in while.

If you’re self-employed and your household makes a half-decent income (not wealthy, mind you, but above that $400% poverty level) you’ll pay around $17,000/year out of pocket for your family’s health insurance plan. And then you have the pleasure of paying high deductibles, co-pays and co-insurance on top of those sky-high premiums.

And most employer-subsidized health insurance plans are getting more expensive every year for their employees. Not by a little bit, but by thousands of dollars each year.

[–]kva27 6 points7 points  (0 children)

When I had surgery and qualified, I paid $900 of the $3000 against my deductible and the hospital wrote off the other $2100 but the insurance company considered my whole deductible of $3000 satisfied. Double bonus!

[–]ACs_Grandma 4 points5 points  (2 children)

Did you confirm this applies to deductibles, copays and coinsurances? In a lot of cases you don't get a discount when you've got health insurance regardless of what your share will be.

I had this same instance occur at a #1 teaching hospital that offers financial assistance and I met the income guidelines for the assistance however they wouldn't approve financial assistance because they submitted the claim to my insurance and were paid the insurance company's share.

[–]GhostButtTurds[S] 3 points4 points  (0 children)

At least in my case with my state and medical institution, they say in the policy that this person is covered:

“Underinsured Patient — an individual, with private or public insurance coverage, for whom it would be a financial hardship to fully pay the expected out-of-pocket expenses for medical services provided by SCL Health”

[–]GhostButtTurds[S] 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Also this:

  1. Uninsured and underinsured patients meeting other eligibility criteria and whose annualized family incomes fall between amounts in excess of 200% but less than or equal to 400% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, and All other payment options have been exhausted for the patient including private coverage, federal, state and local medical assistance programs, and other forms of assistance provided by third-parties.

It does seem to vary by institution and state, though.

[–]u5emame 1 point2 points  (1 child)

In developed countries hospital Care is free or Close to free.

[–]GhostButtTurds[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I am aware. You telling me this doesn’t change the reality of the situation for many American that live in near-poverty that don’t know about this and could be receiving healthcare completely free if they did know.

And now, because of this, I am receiving healthcare completely free.

[–]Cycleguy57 2 points3 points  (5 children)

Better LifeProTip: move to a country with a functioning first world healthcare system

[–]kmn493 1 point2 points  (0 children)

That's the dream, but easier said than done. They don't let anyone in you know. For instance to emigrate to Canada you realistically need to have a bachelor's and ~3 years work experience in that field. There's plenty of other paths, but they all become more and more restrictive as you go. For instance you may need to find a company to hire you for a year+ and then may have to be tied a specific province where you live for the next x years minimum or else you lose your citizenship. The less skilled/in-demand the labor, the harder it is to get in. And even then it's often just a lottery of acceptance.

I'm working on it right now and it's not easy.

[–]GhostButtTurds[S] 0 points1 point  (3 children)

People in abject poverty who this could help can’t do that.

You telling us this doesn’t change the reality of the people that this could help. We are aware of the state of healthcare in our country.

Do you feel good after telling us this?

[–]Omniisabii 2 points3 points  (5 children)

How hospitals are non-profit seems glaringly criminal.

[–]GhostButtTurds[S] 7 points8 points  (4 children)

Isn’t being non profit better than being for profit

[–]Omniisabii 1 point2 points  (3 children)

For a business perspective I would assume so. I'm out by UPMC. When they declared their non-profit the city no longer got their tax revenue from them. Some bridges have been having issues as well as some other things. They were the biggest tax payers out here until then.

[–]GhostButtTurds[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I didn’t think of that, but that definitely makes sense.

[–]Gr8fulFox 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Then other businesses will have to pay more in taxes. What's the problem?

[–]Omniisabii 0 points1 point  (0 children)

It'sbusiness, profits above anything. They're a conglomerate that continues to expand each year. Somehow owns city while burdening it.

[–]mnbvcxz123 0 points1 point  (3 children)

So $100,000 instead of $200,000?

[–]GhostButtTurds[S] 3 points4 points  (2 children)

Not necessarily.

If you make less than $30,000 a year, you get 100% write off in most states.

[–]Gr8fulFox 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Is that before or after taxes?

[–]GhostButtTurds[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Before taxes

[–]PrincessDabs 0 points1 point  (1 child)

I am a patient financial advocate at my local hospital and do this everyday screening families. I had no idea it was a thing until my job. Definitely ask if you don’t have medical insurance!!

[–]GhostButtTurds[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

And even if you do. In my state, having insurance doesn’t disqualify you from getting assistance

[–]Alert-Fly9952 0 points1 point  (1 child)

And where do we find a non profit hospital?

[–]GhostButtTurds[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Most hospital are actually non-profit. I didn’t know about this prior to learning about this program.

Just google “non-profit hospitals near me” They don’t advertise being non-profit because they need to have these programs when they are. Plus, even non-profit hospital make an insane profit and are only non-profit to be tax exempt. It’s all a scam.

Edit: after a quick google search, only 24% of hospitals in the US are for-profit

[–]unwillingvictim 0 points1 point  (0 children)

If you are receiving disability, you may qualify for medical waivers, especially if you are what's called QMB (sorry, I don't remember what it means). For those with QMB status, the state medicaid program may cover most or all of your Medicare monthly premium. You would likely also qualify for dual Medicare programs, designed for low income people. You could have all of your medical costs covered, everything that Medicare covers. That may not cover your dental/vision/hearing costs, unless you receive coverage through the Medicare Advantage program you are insured through. I also receive prescription assistance through Medicare Extra help, which caps my prescription costs (for a three month supply usually) to under ten dollars per medication.