Dear Money & Crisis Reader,
Having you ever looked at one of your healthcare bills?
I mean really looked it. Not just a cursory glance before tossing it in a drawer and trying to forget about all those zeroes swimming in your head.
If you have, you’ve probably noticed the discrepancy.
The money charged… and the money paid out by your insurance company… are never the same.
In fact, if you take the time to look, you’ll notice that the insurance company is paying hundreds of dollars less than you’re being “charged.”
This is all part of the smoke and mirrors game of the grand American healthcare scam. That price was never really on the table. It’s purely for your benefit.
You see, when a patient sees that jacked up price, they don’t feel so bad about forking over thousands of dollars for their health insurance every year.
And the hospital doesn’t actually care that the insurance company isn’t paying the full bill. The prices are so inflated beyond the actual cost of the services they provide, it hardly matters if they knock a few hundred dollars off the bill.
And it’s a lot worse than most people realize.
For just six liters of saline solution (the fluid contained in IV bags) a hospital will charge you $546.
That’s $546 for six liters of water and about 12 teaspoons of salt.
Now, your hospital might tell you that’s because the price of manufacturing an IV bag has gone over the years.
And they’d be right. It has gone up. From 40 cents to about $1.
You might say, “So what? The insurance company is paying for it. So what do I care what price they put on it?”
Well, first of all, this is exactly the kind of shady behavior that drives your insurance premiums so high. And until it’s stopped we’re going to paying out the nose for salty water and bandages.
And secondly, this has the effect of normalizing ridiculously high prices throughout healthcare. Meaning “small ticket” items that aren’t covered by your insurance like inhalers or routine scans are jacked up in price as well.
Leaving you with a fat bill to pay every time you get a tickle in your throat.
But what other option do you have?
Sidestep the System
Look. You’re never going to pay $1 for an IV bag.
Not until this entire corrupt system has been trashed and rebuilt from the ground up.
But you can get those substantially lower prices that the insurance companies are paying.
The key is to:
- Pay in cash
- Use a medical discount card
There are a variety of medical discount cards out there.
Some are for prescriptions only. Others are for doctor visits or hospital services. While others offer deep discounts on services across the board.
The goal of these cards is to bring these prices, which are inflated by insurance companies, into the realm of affordability for cash paying customers.
Depending on the card and service, you could be looking at discounts anywhere from 40—80% of a range of healthcare items.
Best of all, they can be used for those “low-ticket” items that your insurance refuses to foot the bill for — including dental services which aren’t typically covered by health insurance.
There’s a whole bunch of medical cards out there. But their usefulness and cost vary greatly from card to card and state to state.
So, it’s important to do your homework before you pick up one of these cards. Find out if there are any hidden fees and if the services you need are covered by the card.
If you’re feeling a little lost, ask for your doctor’s help when selecting the card. Some doctors might not like the idea. But the truth is many of them feel just as trapped by the way our current system works, and should be more than happy to help out.
You can buy some cards for a one-time membership fee. While others look for monthly payments or are totally free.
Of course, some healthcare costs are so high that even an 80% discount won’t make a dent in that bill.
That’s why it’s a good idea to pair a discount card with a high deductible, low premium insurance plan.
That way, your monthly payments are low. But you’re still covered if you get into a serious accident or get diagnosed with a critical illness.
All the best,
Editor, Money & Crisis
Editor’s note: You’ve been there before… You go the doctor because you’re sick, they run some tests, give you a prescription…
Then you get a bill for WAY more than you expected! But what choice do you have but to pay up?
You actually have more choices than you know… Click here to find out more.