Dr. Jeffrey Singer writes a nice piece in the WSJ about how his patient saved $17,000 by NOT using his insurance. The details are there for you to read and I highly recommend it. The patient had what seemed to be a high deductible plan and was given a quote by the hospital about what cost was going to left for him. It was insane. Then, the surgeon got involved and here is what transpired:
So we canceled the surgery and started the scheduling process all over again, this time classifying my patient as a “self-pay” (or uninsured) patient. I quoted him a reasonable upfront cash price, as did the anesthesiologist. We contacted a different hospital and they quoted him a reasonable upfront cash price for the outpatient surgical/nursing services. He underwent his operation the very next day, with a total bill of just a little over $3,000, including doctor and hospital fees. He ended up saving $17,000 by not using insurance.
Most people are unaware that if they don’t use insurance, they can negotiate upfront cash prices with hospitals and providers substantially below the “list” price. Doctors are happy to do this. We get paid promptly, without paying office staff to wade through the insurance-payment morass.
This is disturbingly common. Insurance companies have to now pay for screening colonoscopies but if they pull a polyp then they call it diagnostic and pay nothing. How is that fair? You are left negotiating with the endoscopic center and good luck with that.
My only hope is to spread the word. Hopefully we can get to the point that even if you have insurance, that the hospitals, urgent cares, and endoscopy centers will allow you to negotiate. Until then, if you have a high deductible plan, then it just may be better to lie. How sad is that?
** If you have more examples of this scam please leave a comment so others may learn.