Save Big on Health Care

CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. The rising cost of health care has many Americans worried. Heather Most is one of the millions trying to cut her costs.

"You just have to be willing to look and research," Most told Ivanhoe. "You have to be your own advocate. You have to do it."

"They would never buy a car and not try to bargain, but when it comes to health care, they think they just have to pay whatever the price that they're told," Carlene Hill-Fisher, a case manager at Coral Springs Medical Center in Coral Springs, Fla., told Ivanhoe.

Costs for tests like MRIs and cat scans can span hundreds of dollars. Shop around to see who has the best price and save up to 60-percent on your final bill.

Next, negotiate.

"Most people are not going to say, 'Oh, I'll give it to you for that much less,' unless you ask. I always say, 'What do I have to lose?'" Hill-Fisher said.

If you can show what you owe is a hardship, many hospitals will negotiate payment plans.

Next, arrange for independent lab work.

Get lab work at one of 2,000 locations listed at Lab tests cost about 74-percent less than they would at a hospital.

Finally, research ways to cut your drug cost.

"Even pharmacies differ in their prices," Hill-Fisher said. "Walgreens, CVS, all the mom and pop stores."

Compare drug costs at We looked up the cholesterol medication Lipitor and found a similar drug for about $1,600 less a year.

Most wanted to save on in-vitro fertilization.

"There are programs out there," she said. "You just have to look. You can't just settle."

Most found help online and worked with her doctor. It paid off. She saved about $9,000.

According to a Wall Street Journal survey, 70 percent of people who negotiated their bill got a lower price.

If you don't have insurance, you can bargain with cash up front. Doctors are often willing to reduce their fees in return for guaranteed payment. This helps them, too, by saving time with paperwork and filing insurance or Medicare claims.

Diana Guayara, Media Coordinator
Coral Springs Medical Center
Coral Springs, FL
(954) 344-3329

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