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December 23, 2008


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Regarding the cars comment: One thing I've found that works really well when you take your car in for service is to simply ask for 10% off after they provide you with a quote. Thus far, it has worked for me 100% of the time at 3 other dealers.

I'll say this about doctors and cash: Several years ago I offered to pay my family doctor cash for a treatment I didn't want on record (no, not an STD! :p) You would have thought I told him I was growing a second head! Totally threw him into a fluster. Didn't know how to handle it.

BTW, if the Clinton health plan is actually enacted it will a Federal *crime* to offer your own payment for medical services! Go figure.

Haggling over financial aid is actually pretty easy. When I was in college I told the aid counselor that I was going to quit my job (I was a part time telemarketer, not a career expanding job). So she reduced my expected income to zero and my grants went up by the same amount that my income went down.

So it never hurts to ask. I was also reading that more retailers are offering deals for customers that ask. If I shopped more I might actually try this.

If you hate to haggle, just ask. The worst that will happen is "No."

Here are two more times that I would add to the list...

1. When the company has just issued a coupon for x% off, and I wasn't interested in buying from them during the valuable life of the coupon, but am considering buying now... Usually if you are within a month or so they make good. Retail is a pretty simple business and if they can sell it for 20% off today, most likely they can do the same thing tomorrow.

2. When buying jewelry! ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS ask the salesperson if that is their best price! There is a huge margin in jewelry and I have yet to find a jeweler that won't offer you a better price. For me, getting 20% off is no problem. If you approach it like a car sale, you can probably do better than that!

Paying cash was not the issue! You were essentially asking the doctor to break the law, and put himself at risk of a lawsuit! Doctors are required to document any interaction and/or procedure in detail.
If you didn't want it on your "record" you should go to a new doctor, then tell him/her you don't have a current doctor (and hence, no records to transfer) and then pay cash...


rxjohnk is right: it's illegal to practice medicine without a chart. If you want to get something treated on the "down-low", go to a clinic that's for people without insurance. Ideally, make sure they don't have computerized records. That way, it's pretty low-cost too. A typical visit should be $40 or so. It doesn't completely eliminate the paper trail, but it would take a lot of effort to track the information down.

Possibly more disturbing than the notion that you couldn't pay for your own medical services under a Clinton style socialized medicine plan is the fact that it would probably include a national database of medical records. Once that happens, the tactic above wouldn't work.

MasterPo, one more thing. There are a some injuries that no doctor can treat legally without reporting it to the authorities: gun shot wounds and evidence of child abuse are examples.

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