Hospitals charging a “Facility Fee” for using their space?

Hospitals charging a “Facility Fee” for using their space?

This may sound like something new you are being hit with when having either a life health emergency or just an issue that’s a little above what your doctor can do for you.

You may have seen a small news article in the past on this or heard it in passing but to elaborate on the visiting and having the “hospital experience” here are some things you REALLY NEED to be aware of.

This is being explained to you as eventually if you do not pay the bill owed (even if they don’t tell you about it) after 120 days it may go to a collection company and be placed on your credit report and possibly drop your credit score up to 70 points. And then when you make the attempt to rectify the issue you are bombarded with such ignorance it is hard to believe as now you are “in the system” and have no clue how that system operates and have to enlist the services of a credit repair specialist to help navigate that system.

The medical “business” in my opinion is literally the most incompetent business I have even seen in my life. The utter stupidity of how they run their “business” more specifically to the billing department of that business is mind blowing.

So now that my rant is over lets go over a little education on how it works so you can be at least a little prepared for when it happens as unfortunately your help is never an if it happens as more of a when it happens.

Logic would dictate if you have to go to the ER then hopefully once things are better you are presented with a bill when you leave for let us say $10,000 and your insurance covers 80% then you are responsible for the remaining balance, minus a co pay.

Seems simple, right? Actually many times bills don’t get submitted on time so “other bills” trickle in and it seems that anyone that stuck there head in or picked up your chart and looked at it is sending you a bill.

What actually happens is most (not all) are looked at as contractors and not direct employees at the hospital so each one of them bill you for their service. Now there are many that belong to groups so you get a bill from “fake name medical group” which included the doctors, anesthesiologist. But then there is any specialist that may have looked at you who belong to “Doctor fake medical Specialist” and they send in their bills.

All you know is you went to ONE facility and your just looking for ONE bill that lists everything done to you, not an impossible thing to expect, right?

Now you have to hope (which is something you’re not thinking about) that ALL of those bills are being coded correctly and submitted on time to your insurance company. Nothing wrong to expect someone to do their job correctly, but people are human and mistakes do happen, you just hope the mistakes are on little ones not the $10,000 bill itself.

BACK to the actually blog topic, you would think that the bill you receive for all the services includes the “renting” of the hospital “property” since when you go to a restaurant and get a burger the $9.00 burger doesn’t cost $9.00 but it includes the cooking of burger, transportation of that meat to you the service, the location and all things included with the enjoyment of that burger.

Wouldn’t the same thing occur for the hospital? Logic would dictate that but systems in America are anything but logical and always seems to target the individual or little guy as they are the ones who cannot fight back.

Now this blog isn’t here to tell you how to fix this because you cannot, there are designed to educate you so you are not blinded sided.

One thing I have learned in my over 12 years in credit is the moment I come across something I have not seen before I dive in to become fully educated on the subject as very often it’s a sign that many others will encounter these problems and issues and as the credit expert I should and need to be prepared to help address the situation and know how to advise my client to the options available to them.

So let’s now FINALLY go into some detail about this “Facility Fee”.
The nickname is “room fee”.
Called “provider-based billing,” it allows hospitals that own physician practices and outpatient clinics that meet certain federal requirements to bill SEPARATELY for the facility/location as well as for physician services.

Because hospitals that bill Medicare beneficiaries (for example) this way must do so for all other patients, facility fees affect patients of all ages.
Doctors’ offices owned by physicians and freestanding clinics are not permitted to charge them.

Unlike other add-ons that have sent people into a rage over billing like:

– baggage charges on airlines
– surcharges for concert tickets
– resort fees tacked on by hotels

Facility fees, which range from about $25 to hundreds of dollars per visit, may involve a service that is a matter of life and death.

WHY, you ask? One billing consultant has estimated that the fees could generate an additional $30,000 annually per physician for hospitals. And as you know hospitals certainly have more than a dozen doctors of course so you do the math…..

Alan Sager, a professor of health policy and management at the Boston University School of Public Health, facility fees are a “ tax on sick people” and reflect the “financial anarchy that pervades health care in the U.S.”

“They are the latest gimmick to generate additional revenue for hospitals,” whose profit margins have sagged in the past two years as the economy has nosedived, Sager said.

“It’s like a barber saying, ‘That’ll be $20 for a haircut and $10 for sitting in my chair,’ ” said Wisconsin state Rep. Chuck Benedict, a Democrat.

Here are five things to know about “facility fees”:

1. They allow a healthcare organization to bill patients a service charge for the patient’s use of hospital facilities and equipment. In MOST cases, a patient may be responsible for the service bill if their insurance declines to pay or if the patient has a high deductible health plan. Hospitals can charge patients facility fees if they see physicians who work in an office that is owned by the hospital.

REMEMBER— when you “sign in” you fill out a form that says whatever your insurance doesn’t pay YOU WILL!

2. Ultimately, the fees help offset costs to operate hospitals and outpatient clinics, along with access to support staff and physicians hospitals state.

3. Hospitals charge facility fees for outpatient services performed by employed physicians that independent physicians do not charge according to the Medicare Payment Advisory Committee.

4. Facility fees have been a hot legal topic and remain controversial. Consumers have increasingly complained about unexpected provider-based billing. The practice has spurred federal regulators to examine the procedures in place for hospital service charges and pricing transparency. Federal regulators, concerned with rising care costs and consumer complaints, plan to review the impacts of provider-based billing.

5. President Barack Obama signed legislation outlawing provider-based billing at off-campus outpatient facilities; however the law does not apply to existing outpatient centers where most people get their services.

SO, in summary to this crazy educational blog this week, If you visit a doctor at a hospital-based office, be aware that hospitals sometimes charge a facility charge in addition to the physician, x-ray and laboratory charges. These charges can range from $25 to hundreds of dollars per visit.

Physicians that practice in free-standing non-hospital-based settings usually include these overhead costs into a single office visit bill.

The practice depends on the hospital’s ownership structure, choice of approach and contracts with insurers. In part because of lawsuits and new laws in some states about transparency of these fees, more providers are prominently displaying signs in their offices if they charge a facility fee.

ADVICE:
When you visit your doctor, ask if you will be getting a separate bill from the hospital. If the doctor’s office says you will, let the staff or doctor know that you are not happy about the additional charge. If providers hear from members that they are not pleased about these charges, they may be able to reduce or eliminate them.

• Ask your doctor whether he or she practices at a non-hospital based setting where there would not be a facility charge. Consider booking your visits at these alternate locations.

• Review the Explanation of Benefit (EOB) you will receive from your health plan if a service is subject to a deductible to see if the deductible charge was the result of a hospital facility charge. If you are not sure, contact your health plan. If you receive a bill from a hospital for this charge, call the hospital and express your concerns about the charge. Sometimes hospitals will respond to these complaints.

REMEMBER— KNOWLEDGE IS POWER!

Feel free to contact me at wayne@waynethecreditguy.com and ask about my book “The Real World of Credit” to learn A LOT more of how the system works if you are thinking of fixing your own credit.

Understanding how the system works is half the job!

When Life happens (Murphy’s Law)

When Life happens (Murphy’s Law)

Murphy’s Law definition:

The rule that states, “If something can go wrong, it will.” An addition to this law reads, “And usually at the worst time.” The identity of “Murphy” is unknown, but the saying was first used during the 1940s.

So why mention this is a credit repair blog you ask?

Life of course…..

However in relation to credit which is my specialty and I can state I am an expert in the matter I want to talk about things I see that may be able to help you avoid people like me for this particular situation.

Starting out on the subject of life many times if you are making a certain amount of money ( or finally do ) for your income you start making a lifestyle that fits that income.

Many times I have people coming to me who end up paying the minimum amounts on these credit cards due to fact of several possibilities such as:

  • Income was cut either your own or a spouses
  • Job loss so not making what you were & took time to find another job so playing catchup.

Both of these are life changing events unless you have a healthy amount of savings tucked away that you can tap into to cover bills until your back on your feet. No one likes dipping into savings but at least it’s there.

Many people do not have this option thus the domino effect starts.

As a life example many, many many years ago (probably longer than I care to admit) I joined a direct sales company (aka: network marketing) they became publically traded and was solid so I joined. And actually they had a product a few years later which became the catalyst for getting me into the credit industry.

Regardless of those details I met an airline pilot for a major airline and we became friendly. This was around the time that the airline filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy and many were laid off and incomes cut. At the time he was making $300,000 a year and was cut 30% to $210,000.

When he told me that the look on my face at the time basically said, “Yeah, you still make over $200,000 a year”.

He saw the look at you could tell it wasn’t the first time and said the problem I have is I have a lifestyle that needs a 300k income to support.

SO THAT IS TODAYS BLOG TOPIC FOR THIS WEEK!

Many times I have clients come to me with so much credit card debt it sometimes blows my mind. I have seen some credit reports with people owing $7,000 to Macy’s or JCpennys. And I think how can you buy so much from a clothing store or let it get to that high an amount?

Ultimately it comes down to discipline. Many consumers just do not have it and it’s something you may need to work on if this blog applies to you. You cannot negotiate with the credit card companies as they have all the leverage.

If you want to settle with them for less you have to trash your credit. Until they have not received a payment for 90-120 days they will do nothing to help you.

I have a friend who lives paycheck to paycheck and have all of her credit cards maxed out so she is a good example of a possible game plan. She finally got a standard 3% raise which only gives her an extra $50 per paycheck but it’s better than nothing.

Her company finally put together a bonus plan if they reach certain goals set for them.

She hit them 2 months in a row totally at moment $1,200. She needed to catch up on a few things, treat herself as well and put a money back into a separate account to start building her savings again. I explained to her which she hates when I do this but she knows it’s needed, if she gets an average of $600 per bonus and does that every other month at least but she expects to hit that every month she needs to put half of the bonus in savings and the other half towards her credit cards starting with the small cards first to get rid of them quicker.

She has 3 credit cards with approximately $600 on each. So within less than six months she can have those 3 cards paid off. Then when she gets excited at how that is progressing she may decide to start taking the full bonus towards paying the bigger one and have that one paid off in a few months.

In her situation she could have all of her credit cards paid off in a year depending on her discipline and goals.

Now in order to get her to focus on that goal other than the freedom of no credit card debt she has a certain car that is her dream car.

I told her after assessing her finances that  these cards are paid down her credit score will jump up tremendously and she could qualify for that car easily.

NOTE: it’s going to be a 1 year pre-owned which she won’t care about as the mileage will be low and will still be exactly what she wants.

This is what you need to do to yourself. Other than being debt free you need to have an additional goal or treat if you want.

Many times it is just not enough, everyone will be different so it has to be something you want so you have to decide on what will give you the determination to be discipline enough to focus on paying down your debts.

As I always say to all future credit repair clients, “I will tell you the truth whether you like It or not”. One of the reasons why I have such a good reputation in the industry is I’m honest and direct.

That combination is not really found in our industry, plus combined with the fact I have been doing this over 12 years the odds are if I can’t help you can’t be helped in the credit repair industry so I may need to guide you towards a different professional to do what’s best for you and your family.

Want to learn more? Contact me at the email below to buy my book “The Real World of Credit” or go to www.bn.com and get the digital version.

Any questions just contact me on the number at the top of my website or email me at: wayne@waynethecreditguy.com

Cell Phone Contracts vs. You = You Lose

Cell Phone Contracts vs. You = You Lose

This week’s blog we are going to talk about what you really sign when you sign a cell phone “agreement”.

I say that as if you have noticed most if not all TV ads say they no longer have “contracts”.

So, first thing is first….

All TV ads are basically lies, or you could say, they omit many important things that would give you the full story and if you knew everything you probably would not go to that company at all. When I do a seminar and it consists of mostly college kids who have come of age (18 yrs old) I tell them you are now legally allowed to get screwed by companies whose name you put on any “agreement”.

Let’s first discuss the B.S statement of “we no longer have contracts”. Obviously a lie, as they say you will take the full price of a phone and divide it into 24 months’ worth of payments where you do not have the option to make the “monthly phone payments longer for you”.

AND, if you do not complete this and leave to go to another company you are charged a “cancellation fee”.

That sound like a “contract” to you? It should because that what a cancellation fee is used for, screwing you over to make extra money (in my opinion).

Don’t pay the fee? It then goes to a collection company who reports it on your credit file and can damage you credit report anywhere from 60-90 points.

Now that we have made that “GOTCHA” to open your eyes to this sneaky tactic clear let’s go into the next one.

“ADD Additional Lines/Family Plan”:

Have more than one person in your family? Add several family members and save money!

UNLESS you have to cancel the service then EVERY added line counts as one service so you are penalized for the following:

  • The rest of your monthly fee owed on your phone (average cost $700).
  • The cancellation fee of an average cost $275-350.00 (PER LINE).
  • Your typical final bill (most people do not pay at average $100.00)

OVERALL money owed per line $ $700-1,000.00  PER LINE!!!!

See how quickly that can add up if you have a few lines as the original plan  you had for saving money by switching?

Now imagine how angry and frustrating it would be to be told by some lender that the cell phone bill collection(which could be from $1,000-$4,000) is hurting your credit score enough for you to possibly not getting the home you want for your family or just yourself and a future family.

MORAL of the story: DON’T CANCEL the “NOT A CONTRACT” until the new cell phones you purchased are paid off!

YOU WILL ONLY LOSE this battle….

TIP:  GET THE INSURANCE on the new phone, at an average of $10 per phone it’s a better deal and protects you for when you do break the phone.

The GOTCHA you don’t think about:

You “Help” your friend or family member get a phone or you add them to your cell phone plan.

When you sign your name to “help someone get a phone” you are signing a contract that obligates you to everything we have spoken about so far.

It does not matter if you never had any of the service you signed your name to. It in fact is absolutely meaningless if you had no relationship with that cell phone company other than helping that family member (for example).

What does matter is by signing that agreement and piece of paper you said to that lender/cell phone company, if this person does not pay the bill I WILL!

The same thing for adding your friend or family member to your cell phone plan. Remember it is YOUR CELL PHONE ACCOUNT. Which means the responsibility is yours and yours alone.

This is the same way you have a credit card that is yours and you add someone as an “authorized user”, this allows that person to use your credit card as if it was theirs but have no responsibility to the credit card company. That credit card company gave the card to you and for you to use as you see fit, any mistakes in judgement or use of it is your responsibility. If that party over uses it, while you have the right to sue the party who used it to pay you back for what they spent if that was your agreement. The credit card company has to claim against that person as you gave permission for them to use is and thus it is your financial responsibility.

The final gotcha:

“Switch now and don’t worry about cancellation fees. We will pay them for you”!!

Sound familiar? You should it’s on a ton of commercials, I have heard this story so many times it crazy and its mostly from consumers who have in their eyes already been screwed over since it’s on their credit report.

This is how it works, YOU cancel the old contract, and YOU get the final bill including phone charge fees, cancellation fees and the last month’s bill. THEN you send a copy of that to the new company who said they would pay for it and they will send you a pre-paid debit card in a month or so.

Can’t pay all of that in one shot or at all? Not the new carriers issue….

Is that someone you want to be a customer of? I wouldn’t. Did the sales person not tell you that? Did you ever hear the phase it’s not what is said but it is what you sign.

The sales person there makes commission, would you have signed up if they said this is how it really works so let’s get you signed up. I would not sign up after hearing the truth.

Just like my book The Real World of credit, this is how the Real World works.

So I hope this gave you some insight as to how something as simple as “changing cell phone companies” without paying attention can cause more problems than you realize.

Want to learn more about how the credit system works? Go buy my book online at here at : Barnes and Noble The Real World of Credit

 

Or contact me directly for a full blown color copy to truly grasp the real world of credit.

And of course have a question on credit for yourself? Contact me directly at: wayne@waynethecreditguy.com

 

 

 

My credit cards are paid off so that’s not a problem… or is it?

My credit cards are paid off so that’s not a problem… or is it?

My credit cards are paid off so that’s not a problem… or is it?

As a credit expert I always get clients telling me exactly what their credit issues are. Now for a small portion of them who do not have many issues a portion of them are correct. After all if you’re currently a 680 credit score then you may only have one or two issues that are hurting you.

However many times there are many other factors affecting their score so I will always tell them what you look at is most likely not what I am going to be looking at.

This is a huge advantage when you have been doing this for over 12 years and have analyzed over 16,000 credit reports in that time frame. Dissecting them, analyzing how the underwriting process behind the scenes looks at them and approves or denies them.

All of this behind the scenes underwriting reviewing is all for your benefit to help you achieve your goals for you and your family.

Many times I have clients that have made recent late payments on their credit cards or car loans, mortgage etc.. (basically recent late payments).
And then if it was a credit card for example which majority of the time it is, they tell me I don’t have to worry about it as its been paid off so it’s no longer a problem.

This is where the education portion of my program begins and I start explaining to them it does not matter that the car is paid off and it is a problem. Explaining the issue to them during the conversation as why it is an issue they will understand it but many times the information leaves them once the conversation is over.

So what I like to do is create a visual picture as most people are visual so painting a picture helps them retain the information for the future.
Think of your credit score in the same way as a crystal ball “works”. The concept is to predict the future. So if a credit score operates along the same lines then a recent late payment gives the lender an indication there may be a financial problem as they are looking at lending you money in the hopes of you paying it on time for the next few years or even the next 30 years if it’s a mortgage.

It’s a math equation, granted a very complicated one but still a math equation. So if you were delinquent in making an arranged payment on time they have no clue if that was a one-time slip up of a foreshadowing of future issues.

They see it two different ways, the first is there is some financial challenges you are going through which of course would give anyone pause on lending you money or lending you money at a low interest rate as those loans are for people who don’t make late payments.

The 2nd you are not going to like a may even take it personally but you can’t argue with a mathematical equation so it’s looked at as if your financially incapable of paying your own bills on-time. Another way it can be called is you’re financially incompetent (at least at this time).

An excuse I hear people say is they never got a bill. The answer which I try to say with a good deal of tact is the credit scoring system reads it as:
“But you know you owe that bank money and that you make payments every month so why didn’t you call them”. It’s not their responsibility to remind you of your financial obligations.

Is it harsh? Yes it is, Realistic in how the world works, yes it is also. What you need to understand is these banks do not know you, they look at how past bills are paid in order to identify if you will pay future bills on time.

I also get people saying they have had excellent credit for 10 even 30 years. And then I have to inform them “that’s great and I will guess that if you even needed to get something during that time you benefited from that great score but you do not have that score now and then lender thinks there could be a future issue now that you did not pay something”.

The hardest thing in credit repair is removing late payments or what is nicknamed “slow pays”, ESPECIALLY when it’s on a current open account as it’s very easy to prove.

So many times I have heard clients tell them that other credit repair companies said it’s not a problem at all so they signed up and paid them money only to later find out months later they were lied to.

UNDERSTAND, when it comes to your credit report and your credit score when it relates to qualifying for a loan and even when credit repair is added to the mix that even if you paid the credit card (for example) down or off does not mean the problem has been fixed.

The RECORD of you not paying that bill on time for that particular month is marked in your credit report and depending on how recent it is will reflect as to how damaging it is to your credit score.

The older it is, the less it affects your credit score as how you pay your bills today counts a lot more than how you paid them 5 years ago.
I hope this helps to increase your credit knowledge when it comes to how the credit system works and the issue with this situation in relationship to credit repair.

But if the late payment is an honest mistake on the banks part while you may get incredibly frustrated to how little help you get to rectify the late payment on your credit if that’s the only issue then the credit repair company should only charge you a small fee after going through a series of questions to create an investigation on the matter.

Want to learn more about how the world of credit works? Contact me today and get my book in full blown color. No nonsense direct answers and easy to understand.

How the “Real world of credit” works:
wayne@waynethecreditguy.com

And of course if you need some credit work to increase your credit score then call me today to discuss!

What you need to know about Credit Karma

What you need to know about Credit Karma

The commercials are everywhere, GET YOUR FREE CREDIT SCORE!

Constant media commercials telling you to check your credit for free!

HOWEVER…

Did you ever hear the phrase, nothing in life is free or you get what you pay for?

As you’re mostly likely an adult over the age of 18 years old, I assume the answer is yes. So then the question is why would a company offer to give you the consumer a free credit score?

A quick little back history on credit karma that many of you probably do not know is they were sued a few years back by the federal trade commission which is why all of their tons and tons of commercials which seemed EVERYWHERE suddenly disappeared. They were sued due to glitches in their online app to keep consumers personal information secured and safe. This is of course a general explanation, if you want to read everything on it just google it or click this link from the federal trade commission https://www.ftc.gov/enforcement/cases-proceedings/132-3091/credit-karma-inc .

As the lawsuit was settled approximately about 2 years ago or less the commercials came back with a vengeance and everywhere, some actually twice an hour on some TV shows.

SO….

Why give something for free when everywhere else you have to pay for it?

It’s simple actually if you think about it, they SELL YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION that you give to them in exchange for it.

Now of course this is my opinion and there is really no way to prove this as credit karma is a privately owned company. BUT let’s put some financially incentive logic behind my theory/opinion.

They get all of your updated personal information including of course your phone number and address. Collection agencies and banks that you owe money too can now sell that updated new information to those companies.

Think of the concept like a bank, ever wonder why they try to get you to open a checking account, savings account, money market account and other products?

The more products you have with them the harder it is and the more effort you have to expend if you decide to leave them as now there are many products you have to switch over.

That’s why the free credit score is offered. To entice you to help get you to sell their other products and get even more information on you to sell.

In addition any product you happen to partake in or buy they are financially compensated. So it’s kind of like how lending tree used to work (or still does as I have not paid attention to them in a while). They advertised apply with them and then sold those leads to mortgage banks and lenders; typically they sell the same number too many lenders. I know as I did this over a decade ago and got called about 17 times and even up to six months later.

Another reason…..

What they don’t tell you and you can’t seem to find ANYWHERE on their website until you are a member is they do not use the FICO scoring model they use the credit bureaus own created scoring model Vantage Score. This was created awhile back and the credit bureaus went to court with Fair Isaac and company over this and won.

Think there is a possibility that the credit bureaus may be offering the information for free to them or at an incredibly discounted price in order to push their scoring model? You would be naïve to think that is not somehow in the master plan.

Vantage score has undergone many changes since it started as initially in my opinion the credit bureaus were so arrogant as they thought they were going to change the scoring model system which originally was 500-990 (vantage score 1.0).

That backfired as it confused everyone when they tried using it so I’m not sure what made them think the way they did but fast forward approximately 7 years and they are at Vantage Score 3.0 which is the same as FICO scoring 300-850.

BUT the basics of how that score is calculated is different than FICO scores and just like with FICO scores each industry FICO scores will be different which can lead to even more confusion when people think they have scores that get get them approved

NOW, Experian for whatever reason chosen does not work with them however Equifax and Transunion does.

###

SIDE BAR:

The credit bureaus collect data, that’s all they do, when a lender comes to them they have specific information they want and assign a number to it. So what’s important to a mortgage lender may not be as important to a car lender or credit card lender so that’s just one little reason why credit scores are different.

This was just a little public service announcement to give you some clarification in case you were ever wondering why you see so many credit karma ads and wondered why you take those scores to other lenders and they tell you something different.

As I tell everyone, I will tell you the truth of your situation whether you like it or now and if your credit file has the potential to improve to the goal you are trying to reach I will tell you that and discuss how it can be possible so call me now!

Of course as a disclaimer everything I am saying in this blog is mostly my educated credit opinion from being in the credit industry for over 12 years. This is my experience in dealing with this company and some of my research.    =)

Want to learn more about how credit actually works and how lenders view you? Buy my book “The Real World of Credit” on my website www.waynethecreditguy or go to www.BN.com and get the electronic version on Barnes and Nobles website!

WANT a HARD COPY in full color? Just contact me below to get one!

OR

Get a copy of your credit report and contact Wayne to review today at:

wayne@waynethecreditguy.com