There are three bills you’re paying that you may not know are negotiable! We got this intelligence from Money magazine.
- Your doctor bill! Your doctor knows times are tough, and he’s used to negotiating his fees – he does it all the time with insurance companies. So here’s your strategy: If you have to pay out-of-pocket and collect from your insurance company later, offer to pay the doctor or hospital up front in cash in exchange for a 20% discount. That advice comes from Andrew Cohen of the Access Project – a health-care advocacy group. They’ll often accept your offer to avoid having the hassle of dealing with your insurer. If the treatment is something that isn’t covered by your insurance, offer the lowest rate the doctor would typically charge the insurance company. It’s usually 30 to 50% lower! To find those rates, go to Vimo.com. For example, obesity surgery at Norton Hospital in Kentucky is listed for $44,000 – but most insurers negotiate it down to $19,000!
- Your dry-cleaning bill. It’s easier to get a discount at a mom & pop store than a chain. Your strategy? Use your clout as a regular customer! Tally up what you pay in a month for dry-cleaning at their store and show it to them when no other customers are around. Then ask for a 10% to 20% discount. Herb Cohen wrote the book, How To Negotiate Anything. He says, you can offer to sweeten the deal by paying cash – or to drop off and pick up your clothes on slower days of the week.
- Your hotel bill! People are staycationing in droves. As a result, hotel occupancy is expected to average less than 55% this year! So when you book, call the hotel directly – don’t use the 800 number. Ask for the reservation manager and ask for a discount. No deal? Suggest an upgrade to a suite, or the concierge floor, which comes with free breakfast or free evening hors d’oeuvres. You’ll likely get it. They want your business.