Hospital Stays and Savings: Surprising (and Billable) Services

Medical expenses are among the leading causes of debt in the U.S. Outrageous fees and miscellaneous charges threaten the safety of the underinsured and uninsured. While you cannot avoid medical expenses entirely, there are a few ways to cut back and save yourself some heartache. Keep an eye out for the hidden costs below, and follow the tips to avoid them. Maintaining your health should never hurt your bank account.

  • Private or expanded rooms. While you may value privacy, the additional charge of $500 a day will have you craving a sense of community. Ask for a semi-private room to lower your expenses. While you’re at it, verify the “standard” size of the room to ensure that you won’t be charged for additional space. Hospital lodging comes with options—become informed about yours.
  • Toiletries. Would you like to pay $45.00 for a box of tissues? If not, be prepared to pack your own toiletries. If you think hotel markups are bad, you’ll be shocked by the convenience charges found on hospital items. Healthcare facilities charge for everything—from toothpaste to towel usage. If your stay is planned (e.g., pregnancy or surgery), stifle the bill by packing your own hygienic and convenience items.
  • Television privileges. Gone are the days of complimentary comfort. If you are stuck in a hospital bed, think twice before switching on the TV. Many hospitals charge a convenience fee of $10.00 per day or greater. Skip the charge by relying on your own sources of entertainment. Bring your laptop or mp3 player to keep you company, or bring a book to help pass the time.
  • Medication. Expect expensive meds when it comes to hospital prescriptions. Many patients do not realize the options associated with prescribed savings. Ask for a discount by opting for the generic version of your medication instead. Why pay more for the same effective treatment?
  • Tray food. Hospital food offers a bland and unappetizing meal. What’s worse, the price is likely to top $30.00 per tray. If your condition is free of diet restrictions, ask a friend to bring you a meal from home. The result is an economical and gag-free alternative.
  • Unnecessary tests. Routine tests and procedures are not always mandatory. If you can avoid the additional costs, ask to forgo some of the unnecessary tests along the way. While you shouldn’t sacrifice your health, avoid letting the hospital pad your bill.

Inflated fees. The bill is not the final word in hospital costs. Negotiate your way to a manageable number by asking the hospital for a deal. Propose a 30 percent discount—what insurance providers usually pay—rather than shouldering the entire burden. If you are able to pay cash, ask about additional discounts associated with this option. The bottom line: Take control of healthcare costs by asserting your needs. While you can’t control medical emergencies, you can control your resolve to save.

This article was provided by

More to Read: