I'm going to go out on a limb and bet that you probably wouldn't buy a house or car without comparison shopping online. Heck, you probably wouldn't buy a $70 pair of sneakers without shopping around. Yet many of us think nothing of moving forward with a dental or medical procedure with no sense of what the average going rate is, and no true grasp of what we're ultimately paying at the end of a running stream of bills and "this is not a bill" notices.

Americans' attitude toward health care is stunningly laissez-faire when you consider the average family spends $3,000 a year on it beyond their monthly premiums -- too big a cost to overlook.

One of the most costly mistakes? Assuming that using your medical or dental insurance -- if you're lucky enough to have it -- is always the best way to go. Depending on your premium and where you are in the calendar year, it may make better financial sense to forgo insurance and pursue a self-pay rate to lower the net out-of-pocket cost. For DailyFinance's full story on the subject, see How to Negotiate Medical Expenses.

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Most of the people I know are not even savy enough to open a Roth Ira.
I don't hold any hope that they can negotiate a better discount than an insurance company can get. By the way over the last 8 years I have had two heart attacks, bypass surgery, three stents put in at two different times and two ICD devices. I am a diabetic and minus a gallblader. Only a "lucky" few have as much experience with doctors, hospitals and insurance as I. I have in the past forgone the insurance route because of a limited monetary benifit. An example would be the $10... 90 day prescriptions available at several pharmacys. Sometimes cheaper than using insurance... My advice is to buy the best insurance you can afford and use it.
If however you excell at negotiating rates for health care you should open a business. The market is there!

July 07 2011 at 6:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

In some cases, it might be cheaper to take out catastrophic insurance (for example, a policy with a 5,000 deductible) and have low monthly payments. What this means is that you'll pay for your first 5,000 dollars of care, bu
t if your policy is $500 or more a month, then you're spending $6,000 anyway.

And, since you'll pay for that $5,000 of care yourself, then and only then negotiate good rates!

I would love to see health care for all Americans, like the system in Canada or France. It's just plain sad that some Americans have no health care. Unfortunately, I don't think this will ever happen.

July 07 2011 at 11:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What idiot wrote this article? Must have been an insurance company owner. Have insurance and don't use it !!!!
Yeah thats the ticket.....Morons!!!!!

July 07 2011 at 1:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to bigredonebigred's comment

Big, you could still have catastrophic insurance (say with a 5K deductible) and then negotiate lower rates whenever you go to the doctor for a checkup, for example, since you have to pay for the service anyway up to 5K.

But you're right, if you have a policy with a ridiculously high premium (1,000K a month for a family is not out of range), then you should have the insurance pay for as much as possible.

July 07 2011 at 11:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The focus was on the cash outlay ... if you have insurance & a high deductibles and are short on cash, it may make sense -- from the consumer's standpoint -- not use it for some straightforward procedures.

July 07 2011 at 6:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Well,I am a veteran and go to the VA.my teeth are getting pretty bad in my older years,and the VA said I cant have dental care unless Im 100% disabled. I cant afford a dentist,and I just started a new job today,and even with the job I cant afford it. So with the job.the health department is out of the question. and I ask,How are we supposed to afford Health insurance in this economy? Can somebody please give me an answer? I would much rather have a job and go to work,and not mooch off the taxpayer,.as I see so many people do every day. And now they want to raise the age of people who might get to draw,or cut social security benefits. I already cant draw unless Im 70,My stepdad recently died at 67. What the hell am I supposed to do? They want to raise the age to where only Moses MIGHT get to draw his Social security,in my opinion. So,My question is,who am I going to haggle with?

July 06 2011 at 7:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Coot's comment

haggle with GOD

July 07 2011 at 1:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Don't you believe for a second it's better to go your own way vs. taking out a Major Medical health policy. IF i wouldn't have had Major Medical; I wouldn't be typing this having come down with Hodgkin's Lymphoma Stage 4.
Buy health insurance and buy it from an agent, not over the internet.
The destruction of Health Care by Obama has resulted in the killing off of Health Insurance Agents. Our commissions have been cut to a point that it hardly makes sence to sell it. Even more reason to buy it from an Agent, the one's that are left are the survivors and they know all the answers.

July 06 2011 at 4:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply