Patients receiving big discounts for paying in cash

More and more patients have started paying for healthcare procedures in cash in exchange for significant discounts.

A recent story in the Wall Street Journal examined this trend, providing numerous examples of patients saving more than $500 on procedures by simply paying in cash up front instead of going through insurance.

“Not long ago, hospitals routinely charged uninsured patients their highest rates, far more than insured patients paid for the same services,” the article explained. “Now, in the Alice-in-Wonderland world of health-care prices, the opposite is often true: Patients who pay up front in cash often get better deals than their insurance plans have negotiated for them.”

According to WSJ reporting, some providers are keeping their cash-only rates as quiet as possible, because insurers could potentially find out and get upset. Meanwhile, other providers are happy to compete and have no problem sharing their discounts with the world.

“Patients have the right under federal law to request that we not bill their insurance,” Bill Munson, Boulder Community Hospital chief financial officer, said, as quoted in the article. “And when they do, they have the right to participate in our self-pay program.”

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