I had never given a second thought to the details of the bills that my health insurance (HI) company used to send me until I moved to a HSA plan.
My typical (before the HSA plan) bill claim would be like, e.g.:
- provider charged us: $550
- HI company says provider is not allowed to charge more than: $200 (so the HI company basically asked the provider to take a hike for the rest of the $350)
- my co-pay: $50
- HI company pays: $150
Now that I have the HSA, the issue has become that the provider is charging me $550, as they always used to.
I asked for a cash discount and explicitly told them I am paying out of pocket.
When I brought over the previous invoices, they told me "we were writing the $350 off as cost of doing business with your HI company. In your current situation, we will report whatever you don't pay to collections and you work that out."
The biggest challenge though has been trying to find out which provider charges what, so I can select a provider based off cost and reputation. But, anytime I ask for a price list, I get a standard "ask your HI company" go around.
It feels too wishy washy so far with the providers basically telling me "we would like to charge you $1000 for a basic office visit, even if you had the sniffles, but we will take whatever we can get in reality so we won't put a cap to what we might ask you for any service we provide. Whatever it comes down to at the end of you debating prices and lengthy negotiations and hours of your time wasted is what you will need to pay with you running a risk of us reporting you to collections if you paid anything less than what we asked for."
For those of you who are using HSAs successfully, how has your experience been and is this experience of mine typical? How can I deal with this price problem?
Help! I never thought an HSA plan would be like pulling teeth in practice!