Understanding the Pros and Cons of Paying Cash for Your Medical Care

Understanding the Pros and Cons of Paying Cash for Your Medical Care

There's a little secret out there for healthcare consumers that has the potential to save them hundreds, even thousands of dollars. Whether you are insured or not, the option of how to pay for your care offers an eye-opening glimpse into a system run wild that has no price constraints. As costs for procedures, medical visits, and hospitalizations continue to rise, many are finding they are out-of-pocket significant amounts of money satisfying deductibles and co-payments before insurance benefits begin to start in any meaningful way.

While some in healthcare may deny this option exists, offering patients a «cash payment option» is real. It's a path many are choosing to take in an effort to reduce their out-of-pocket healthcare costs. As a patient advocate skilled in medical billing negotiation, I know firsthand what a «Cash Payment Option» form looks like. I have seen them in every part of the country as I accompany clients when they receive medical care.

It is striking when some healthcare facilities offer savings of close to 90% off the rate they would otherwise bill an insurance company. Every situation is unique. Cash payment may not be the best option for you or your loved one to pursue, but it's definitely worth inquiring about so before committing to medical care, you understand what payment option makes the most financial sense in your situation.

If you've already (or are close to) satisfying your annual deductible, considering cash payment doesn't make much sense. But if you're a person with a high deductible before your insurance starts paying on your behalf, and are in generally good health, then cash payment makes a tremendous amount of sense for you.

An example of how cash paying can work on your behalf might look like this: You've suffered a sports injury, require stiches for a wound, or need an imaging study. Asking for a facility's cash payment amount (while not counting toward your annual deductible) provides you, the patient, with important knowledge. This information places power back into YOUR hands, and doesn't require you pay more than necessary for medical care resulting from a one-time medical incident.

When I inquired at a major Los Angeles medical center what the price of an MRI of my client's brain would cost if he paid cash, I was amazed. My client fell while hiking and hit his head. His physician was concerned he might have suffered internal bleeding. An MRI of his brain was ordered to rule out this complication.

If billed through his insurance, the cost would have been over $9,000.00. If my client was willing to pay $1,385.00 from his own wallet, the same procedure would be performed. Given my client had a $12,000.00 annual deductible to satisfy, and didn't have any other health complications at 57, he opted for the cash payment option and saved over $7,000.00.

Despite having suffered a head injury, even my client was able to understand the incredible benefit of paying cash for his brain MRI. You have the ability to do the same!