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How To Talk Down That Medical Bill

Thursday, 08 Sep 2011 08:11 AM

If you’re struggling to make ends meet in this tough economy, learning how to haggle over medical costs can help, but the best time to do it is before you’ve received pricey treatment, a Consumer Reports columnist advises.

"It helps to know from folks the degree to which financial issues are a stress for them, especially related to health," Dr. John Santa, director of the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center, tells abcnews.com. "This works best if the physician is aware of this from the start. If you're struggling to keep your head above water, tell the doctor anything he can do to moderate cost is appreciated."

This is a reasonable request because there is a wide variety of ways to diagnose and treat most medical conditions, so costs vary as well, Santa says. If you’re surprised by a high medical bill, ask your doctor about it, and don’t assume the price cannot be changed, he says.

"Doctors are mission-driven, and I think even those who are business-oriented would step up and help out," Santa says. "During times like these, a physician who isn't sensitive to a patient's financial needs is ignoring reality.”

To read the complete abcnews.com story, Go Here.



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