Here’s part three of my mini-series on saving on medical care. The article upon which this is based was writen by Sid Kirchheimer and originally published in Bottom Line/Personal. Today we’ll be covering tips #5 and #6. Here goes…
Tip #5: Ask for a daily itemized bill — When you’re admitted to a hospital, specify (at registration) that you want an itemized bill. When it arrives, make sure the number of doctor’s visits, tests, etc. jive with reality. And if you see any ‘miscellaneous charges’ or generalize ‘lab fees’ be sure to ask for clarification. If necessary, ask to speak to the patient’s advocate. If they can’t help you reduce ridiculous overcharges and flat-out mistakes, then consider hiring an independent medical billing consultant, who will work on your behalf in return for a percentage of the amount that they save you.
Tip #6: Bypass the hospital pharmacy — Hospital pharmacies are well known for their inflated prices. If you’re taking medications on an ongoing basis, bring them with you. If you have a chance to talk to your doctor about which drugs you’ll likely be receiving during your stay, ask him/her to write prescriptions for you such that you can have them filled elsewhere. If he/she won’t do it, at least bring any non-prescription drugs that you are likely to need with you from the outside. And as always, as for generics whenever possible. You’ll get the exact same drug at a fraction of the price.
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