How to negotiate discounts on medical bills

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To maintain cash flow, "many doctors will knock 5 or 10 percent off if you pay up front," says health-care consultant Rocky Fredrickson. Uninsured patients can get even bigger discounts ("50 percent or more," says gastroenterologist Martin Bashir) for procedures that doctors and dentists usually bill to health plans, because medical practitioners are used to getting less than full price from insurance companies. "The discounted rate doctors give a patient is still far better than what an insurance company pays," Bashir says.

Try This: Find out what doctors and dentists typically bill for services and how much insurers pay at Negotiate the bill before your procedure. Offer to pay up front in exchange for a discount.

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