Apr 25 2013

Do you pay hospitals in full, or make payments?

Last November, my son needed to go to the ER for some pretty intense vomiting and dehydration. If it was myself, I’d try to tough it out longer…but my little boy? Not messing around with him. So we went, they gave him a Zofran and I think one other thing, took an x-ray, urine sample, saw the nurse practitioner and we were on our way.

My husband and 2 kids are on one private insurance plan. It’s a high deductible, at $5,500/year for the family. Blech.

We got the ER bill, to the tune of $2,421. For real?! That’s insanity.

I compared it to my explanation of benefits from the insurance company, and something wasn’t right. After some phone calls, it turns out we were billed the full amount, vs. the slightly discounted insurance amount. Our bill was reduced by a little more than $500. Definitely helps, but it’s still expensive.

I asked if there was any sort of pay-in-full discount. It would be worth it to me to just pay the full bill if we got, say, a 10% off discount. But nope, the billing lady said those discounts are only for those without insurance discounts.

She did say we could do a minimum monthly payment of $200, with no interest.

So…there’s really not much incentive to pay in full. We thankfully happen to have the money in savings, earmarked for medical bills. As far as I’m concerned, making payments in this situation is probably fine, though I don’t like the idea that it’s a debt.

How about you? Do you pay medical bills in full, or make interest-free payments?



2 Responses to “Do you pay hospitals in full, or make payments?”

  1. We ran out of money right when we got the bill for my hospital stay with Caroline, so I set up a payment plan. When we got some extra money, I called to pay the balance. The person I spoke with said, “If you pay the balance in full then I’ll reduce it by 10%!” I was like, heh that’s what I was going to do anyway – sure!

  2. We’ve had two babies and two procedures over the past 4 years, all with a $4000 deductible. Needless to say, we owe the hospital a lot of money! I’m making payments, because they don’t charge interest. But I hear you, the debt is a psychological issue. I don’t like it.

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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife to Shane and mother to Jonathan (7), Vivienne (5) and Amelia (2) . I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

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