Tuesday, May 24, 2016

How to make the equivalent of $4800/hr

Now that your expectations are high I'll let you down softly.  This post is not about getting rich quick or gleaning the salary of a high-paid CEO, but about how you might save a bundle on medical bills with a simple phone call.  As many of you know, we had kiddo #4 a little over a month ago (hence the absence of posts) and the bills have started to roll in.  This go-round was an experiment to see if my calculations that moved us over to a high-deductible plan were in fact correct and would actually save us money.

I'll put together more thoughts on that later, the focus of this post is how a 9 minute phone call saved us 20% on the hospital bill, or roughly $725.  Geico eat your heart out...

The nicely organized bill we received showed the massive discounts negotiated by our insurance provider as well as the payments they'd made and ended with a comparatively small balance and a website where we could pay.  A few years ago when we had the twins I remembered having to call most of the providers to pay over the phone and thought this is nice, guess the medical industry has finally caught up with the rest of the technological world.  Upon logging in, however, I noticed there was only the option to pay the amount in full, and no discounts or payment options like I was offered over the phone previously.  The last go round we saved an average of 13% by paying in full (on a credit card that offered cash back and was paid off of course!) so I begrudgingly dialed the 1800 number and prepared myself for the worst.

To my surprise, 9 minutes later our original bill minus 20% was paid and I hung up the phone feeling like I had only lost part of an arm and leg.  I'm also happy to report that no Cuban negotiation tactics were used as I've been told in the past that they make people (ie my spouse) uncomfortable, I simply asked if there was any discount for paying in full and 20% is what was offered.  Just goes to show there's no harm in asking and like Geico always claims, you just might be surprised at how much you can save in a few minutes!

Finally, the ROI calculation for the 9 minutes spent on the phone:
$725/.15hr = 4833.33 $/hr

Now if I could just find something that pays consistently at that rate..

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