Click the link below for details. It’s a long article but could save you thousands of dollars unless you’re covered by one of the semi-socialized health insurance schemes like Medicare, Tricare, or Medicaid.
The author knows what he’s talking about. The only potential error I found is where he says federal law requires every U.S. healthcare provider must always charge the same fee for each specific service (CPT code). In other words, they can’t charge one person less or more than someone else. As far as I know, that only applies to Medicare (and Medicaid?) patients.
If you buy a lot of healthcare services, you must read this article.
In a nutshell, the author does this when he needs non-emergency services:
Here we go, step by step:
1) I usually prefer to skip the added expense of going to a GP or family practice intermediary just to get a referral to a specialist that can actually help, especially when I can determine what medical specialty is likely to be most helpful for by medical condition by visiting the website of the American Board of Medical Specialties. (Is your ignition system acting up, your suspension riding a little rough, need new tires, brakes squeaking, transmission grinding?) http://www.abms.org/member-boards/specialty-subspecialty-certificates/
2) Use the links on abms.org to visit the appropriate specialty board’s website, and then use their “find a physician” with the sub-specialty likely to be most helpful for the condition.
3) Start calling the sub-specialty physician offices listed, tell them you are a prospective new patient, and ask to speak to the Business Office Manager. Ask him or her the following questions: a) “Do you accept Medicare and/or Medicaid insurance?” If yes, then… b) “Super! Do you accept cash payment at the time of service?” If yes, then… c) “Great! Then, of course, you will accept as payment in full, the Medicaid allowable, but paid in cash by me to you, directly, at the time of service? Correct?” If yes, then (e). If no then (d). d) “I guess I understand. Well, then surely you will at least accept as payment the Medicare allowable, paid in cash by me to you, directly, at the time of service? If yes, then (e). If no then conclude the call, because you cannot fix stupid. e) “Thank you! Can you please tell me what the estimated amount is for an office visit, using this fee schedule, so I can know how much money to bring, and please make a note on my account that we have negotiated a Single Case Agreement for me to pay these rates to you, in cash, at the time of service? f) Tell him or her your specific reason for the visit (I am leaking red fluid on the floor of my garage) and that you want to be fully prepared for the visit. Ask what diagnostic tests, if any, are usually required for this type of problem, lab, X-ray, CT, MRI, ultrasound, etc., and which ones would probably need to be done outside the physician’s clinic? g) Make sure to get the business office manager’s name and contact information, and the appointment time and date.