Twila Brase on getting into a cash-pay/negotiating mindset

Michael Miller  ·  Apr 30, 2017

After Twila Brase left her job as a school nurse to start Concerned Citizens for Health Freedom (now Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom), she bought her own health insurance, but prices “skyrocketed over time.”

Even while she had insurance, she purposely never filed a claim, because she was concerned about losing privacy. She saw insurance only as a backup for a catastrophic need.

“I would pay $2,000, $3,000 a year if I needed medical care,” she says. “It didn’t make sense to be paying as much as I was paying (for insurance).”

She discovered positive aspects of paying cash for care, she says.

“It protected my privacy from the medical information bureau, and it gave me experience at negotiation.”

For example, she needed to have a mole removed and asked the dermatologist how much it would cost, since she was paying cash. After checking, he said it would be $150, then offered to charge $120.

“I thought, ‘Whatever,’” Twila says.

After the procedure, Twila asked him how much an insurance company would pay him for the procedure. Again, he didn’t know.

“I say, ‘How about if I give you $90?’ He goes, ‘OK,’” Twila recalls. “After that I thought, ‘Shoot, I should have asked for $75.’”

Another time, she was going to get an MRI scan of a broken toe, but thought $1,190 was too much to pay.

She went online and found a Smart Choice MRI, with no MRI costing more than $600, was opening in a few days near her.

“I said, ‘OK, I’m waiting.’

“When you get into a cash mindset, you can negotiate.”