Member received 90 percent discounts on nearly a million dollars in bills

Shanna Bassinger  ·  Mar 30, 2017

One thing I learned when I had my third child, Kodi, prematurely, nearly lost my own life, and faced nearly $1 million in hospital bills, was to put complete trust in God!

shanna-kodi-300-px.png#asset:2163Kodi, who is doing great now, spent seven weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit after her birth on October 22, 2016. She was born after I went to the hospital in the 30th week of my pregnancy with severe abdominal pain. I was diagnosed with HELLP syndrome, which involves rupturing of red blood cells, elevated liver enzymes, and low platelet counts, and is considered life-threatening. I believe that the on-call physician, who is the daughter of my regular obstetrician, saved the life of my baby as well as my own life.="padding:5px;">

Our prayers were answered with recovery for Kodi and me, and discounts of over 90 percent from the hospital and additional discounts from other providers.

My condition and Kodi’s early delivery and NICU stay redefined my life. I am grateful for the experience God put us through. We learn through the tough times and God has taught us so much through this experience.

He also taught us to trust Him with our finances even before I left the hospital, which is when I started working to get our bills reduced.

My strategy for asking for discounts is to always first tell providers that I don’t have insurance and to ask what the cash-pay rate or discount is.

The result for my maternity bill was a 90 percent discount if I paid in full, which I agreed to do. That was kind of a crazy time, with Kodi still in the NICU, and I thought 90 percent was fair. We were able to pay in full mostly because of the access we had to credit through my husband’s business.1

For Kodi’s NICU bills, the hospital again offered significant discounts initially, so I knew that I could probably get even more if I asked. I have learned that when a provider makes you an offer, the first offer is not the best offer. I also knew that insurance companies the providers work with were not paying the higher amounts I was being charged, and I didn’t feel that we should have to pay those inflated rates either. 

The hospital again offered a 90 percent discount. I waited a few days and asked whether, if I paid in full, we could get an additional amount off the already offered 90 percent. They agreed and gave us 35 percent more off the already discounted amount.

It was also helpful to start negotiations early. I started negotiating the bill for my maternity a couple of days before I left the hospital. I was able to pay the bill in full before I left. I also started the negotiation for Kodi’s need that same week, but didn’t finalize it until after she was discharged.

kodi-300px.jpg#asset:2165Working with other providers, if the discount rate they offered was less than 40 percent, I would ask for something better. At this point, most reps would put me on hold and, I assume, talk to a supervisor. They would come back with a response and then I would tell them about my hospital discount and request that they offer the same discount. I was able to secure the same 90 percent discount as the hospital on one other account. A few of the others gave me a slightly better offer than the original amount.

For me personally, negotiating was not difficult or stressful. I just knew that the situation would work itself out, and that God is in control. I would just deal with whatever the outcome was.

Being in a life-threatening circumstance for my baby and myself really put things into perspective. Honestly, I was just so grateful to be alive and to have a baby who was doing well, that feeling concerned about hospital bills seemed pointless.

Worry doesn’t change a thing! It only gets in the way of appreciating what is happening at the moment.

Jeff and Shanna Bassinger and their three children are Samaritan Ministries members in Argyle, Texas. 

If you have had success in getting discounts from medical providers, please let us know. We might share your story in the newsletter or on our blog. Send your information to mike.miller@samaritanministries.org.

1. If a provider offers you a discount greater than 60 percent, contingent on quick payment before you would receive shares, be sure to contact Samaritan for guidance.