How to Save Money by Paying the Bill in Full at the Time
of Service with No Insurance Paperwork
How Do Cash Discounts and Insurance Interact?
Find Out What You Must Do To Qualify For a Discount
and Is Not Discounted
What To Do When Referred To Another Doctor
What to Do If You Can Not Pay the Full Amount Owed
If you have insurance coverage, before you pay cash,
please go to
What About Paying Cash?
Many doctors, hospitals and other health care
providers offer significant discounts for full payment at the time of
service without billing or insurance paperwork to complete. Ask if this
kind of discount is available and what types of payment are acceptable. Try
to get an estimate of what the visit or procedure may cost and remember to
bring a check, cash or other suitable form of payment with you to the
office, so you can qualify for the discount.
For a surgical procedure or service provided outside
a doctor’s office, you can often still get a discount if you pay the full
amount in cash prior to the surgery or procedure; ask?
Also ask what happens if your payment by check or
money order should fail to clear (your check bounces). You are likely then
responsible to pay not only the non-discounted fee, but also a substantial
penalty for the bounced check.
Are just the Doctor’s professional services discounted?
If you are considering a surgical procedure, will there be an assistant and are these fees discounted/ included. What
about other professional services such as radiology, pathology,
anesthesiology? These services may be billed separately and you may be able
to arrange a discount for them too, if you pay in full in advance?
Laboratory and other diagnostic procedures or
services may not be discounted; ask! Inquire about the cost and whether a
discount is available for pre-payment prior to having these services
Supplies or medications may not be included.
Prior to receiving these supplies or medications, ask the
cost and whether or not there is a cash discount available.
Remember, many tests and medical supplies can be
purchased for much less by going directly to a lab or medical supply outlet.
Suppose you see a physician who offers discounts for
payment in full and in cash (check or money order) at the time of service,
but then you are referred for consultation to another Physician? Or, what
should you do if your doctor is not available and another doctor is taking
his calls? You have two options:
Discuss/ negotiate a similar discount relationship with the covering
Choose another doctor.
Will another doctor Offer a Discount?
If a Physician that you have already seen has checked
out to an “on call” doctor, then you might want to consider discussing the
same cash discount with the covering Physician. In most cases a covering
physician will not charge you a New Patient fee (see “New
versus Established Patient”).
In many cases Doctors who are covering for other
Doctors will agree to accept the same payment terms as the Physician for
whom they are covering. Unfortunately, this is not always the case so you
should always ask before you are seen or receive treatment.
Choose Another Specialist?
When you are paying the bills, you are not obligated
to see any particular physician, even if you are referred by your current
An “on call” doctor, or even a doctor in the same
office as a Participating Physician, is not required to give you a
discount. (An exception to this rule may be if the offer of discount is
the policy of the group, and you are seeing a member of that group.)
Most doctors are sensitive to the high cost of
medical care and the impact these costs have on their patients. If you are
unable to pay the entire amount owed at the time of service, the Doctor may
no longer offer to discount his or her services.
Usually the Doctor’s office manager will be able to
work out a payment schedule for you, if you are unable to pay the full
amount. You may not be eligible for a discount in this case, but at least
you won’t be jeopardizing your credit history. The best way to manage this
situation is to always work these problems out in advance, prior to
receiving the doctor’s services.
Charges for laboratory tests (blood, urine etc.) and
supplies (bandages, medications, etc.) are likely additional charges.
Laboratory tests are often sent out to other labs or
physicians. The doctor you are seeing usually can not discount these kinds
of services since they are not under his or her control. Many tests
and medical supplies can be purchased for much less by going directly to a
lab or medical supply outlet.
Supplies and other items such as medications and durable medical
equipment often are not discounted either, as the doctor must pay a fixed
amount in advance and can not offer a discount below his or her cost.
Ask if a cash discount applies to supplies,
laboratory tests before
they are provided to you. You may be able to purchase these items for far