Interview: Carol Barkes
This comes from a communications expert, Carol Barkes. Here are some talking points for an interview on how to negotiate medical bills:
1.Make yourself have the difficult conversation.Many times, people avoid communicating about bills that they cannot pay. This makes their position much weaker and potentially escalates the bill to a collection agency. Instead, have the difficult conversations and be honest about your capabilities to repay. Your honesty and lack of avoiding the situation will typically create a more collaborative relationship with the provider.
2. Brainstorm options. If you have no way to pay the bill in full, ask if there is a way to get part of the bill forgiven. Make sure you have legitimate reasons for the request and then also have a plan for how you will pay the rest of the bill off. Think about what type of payment plan you could manage and make sure you can stick to the agreement.
3. Consider the time value of money. When negotiating payment plans, a provider is more likely to take a lower amount if you can pay that amount in a short time frame. The longer you need to pay, the more likely the provider will be to want a higher amount.
4. Negotiate miscellaneous fees. Ask to have finance charges and late fees waived in exchange for a payment. These are typically “soft” charges that are negotiable.
Available for Interviews:Carol Barkes
Carol Barkes, CPM, is a trend-setting mediator, business executive and educator specializing in the use of neuroscience to improve business performance, interpersonal communications, negotiation and conflict resolution processes for optimally successful results. She is also a speaker, educator, and author of the bestselling book: Success Breakthroughs.
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