EDITOR:<TH>When my wife was half way through her first pregnancy, our insurance company decided to get out of the health insurance business. We had to fend for ourselves. This was in Santa Rosa in 1985.
We immediately went to the doctor and asked for a discount if we paid in advance. She gave us 20 percent off, and we sent a check. Then we went to the hospital with the same request. They gave us 10 percent off, and we sent a check. Our great good fortune was that the birth was normal and without complications, which would have cost extra.
As soon as our next two kids were conceived, we approached the same doctor and hospital and got the same deal. Each kid cost around $3,600 total, and that was 25 years ago.
As you can imagine, I think health insurance companies are scoundrels, and I worked for an entire career with insurance companies. They deserve their bad reputations.
The lesson from our experience is that it never hurts to ask for a discount in exchange for payment in advance.