scissorsFor those that are uninsured, getting sick can be a nightmare. Even worse if you realize that you need a costly procedure that you cannot afford at the moment. But even those with insurance often struggle coming up with the funds to pay off the remaining balance that their health coverage did not cover.

Just like with most businesses however, patients can negotiate lower medical bills if they go about it the right way. In fact, statistics show that only a mere 13 percent of Americans even attempt to negotiate reduce bills. But those that do try are generally successful. That said, to learn how to haggle your medical expenses, continue reading below.

Explain The Situation Up Front

It may seem nerve wrecking to come out and say that you can’t afford a certain procedure, medication, or test but you can save you a lot of turmoil if you would only speak up and explain your financial situation from the beginning. Often you can discuss these matters with your physician and he or she will try to arrange an additional discount for you, but sometimes these matters are out-of-their-control. Sometimes you need to speak with someone else, such as the anesthesiologist involved in your surgery, the hospital’s chief financial officer, or even your physician’s office manager. You might not be able to get a huge discount, but anything will help. On the same note, while physicians typically prescribe generic medication upon request because they know they’re cheaper, often times they forget how costly tests and lab work can be. Address whether you really “need” these tests. Is there a cheaper alternative? Perhaps even a holistic approach?

Establish Payment Plans

Even if your procedure is a lot more than you anticipated, you should feel comfortable knowing that you don’t need to come up with hundreds of dollars up front— you can make payment plans. But when you do make your installments, try to do so with cash. Most medical facilities, even cosmetic offices, will knock down the original price of the procedure since paying in cash saves them the hassle of paying credit card transaction fees or figuring out financing terms. And since even payments as low as $50 a month can save you from being reported to collections, establishing a payment plan should really be considered.

Check for Errors

Lastly, you never want to pay for a bill “as is.” Read it carefully and be sure to check for billing errors, you don’t want to end up paying for a test for example that you did not have. You also want to be thoroughly educated about what your benefits are—is your surgeon, including outside personnel that will be working on you like the anesthesiologist, in network? All of these details matter and will affect the final price.

This guest post is contributed by Lauren Bailey, who regularly writes for accredited online colleges. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: blauren99