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Staying in the hospital is more expensive than a mortgage. $10 for a couple of aspirin, $100 for a test you may not need or did not take. $75 for the time the doctor came in to ask you one or two questions, that is if wasn't the nurse, who asked the questions. The list goes on.

Since most of the money you spend on health care is spent at the hospital, you can and should work to lower your hospital bills.

You can do these following to lower your hospital bill.

1// When you need to have surgery or other nonemergency hospital care, check prices at various hopsitals. Room rates differ, and some hospital offer inexpensive rooms with three or four beds. For-profit hospitals are generally more expensive than others. Try to find a hospital that has performed the procedure you need at least 200 times; you're less likely to suffer complications there.

2// See if your simple surgery can be done on an outpatient basis.

3// Refuse tests the hospital requires before admitting you if they have nothing to do with your illness or your surgery.

4// Find out if your doctor charges hospital admiting fees or release fees. You can refuse to pay these because no service has been done for you.

5// Enter the hospital on Monday rather than on the weekend. Weekend reates are high, and you often recieve little or no medical care on the weekend. The same goes for the holidays.

6// Consider bringing your own food instead of eating the expensive hospital meals.

7//Bring your own drugs, even presription drugs, and painkillers, like aspirin or acetaminophen. Ask your doctor what you'll need.

8// If a doctor you don't know enters your room, find out why he/she is there, and find out the doctor's name. Some patients have more than one doctor, make sure that you have only one doctor who is treating you.

9// Refuse to accept services you don't think you need, You'll certainly pay for them later.

10//Before delivering a baby at a hospital, find out if they allow "rooming in" (Keeping the baby in the room with you) and if they let you leave the hospital early. Some hospitals will let you go after 24 hours, other after three days. Longer stay will increase your hospital bill and expose your baby to more infections.

11// Unless you expect complications, use a nurse-midwife or your family practitioner instead of an obstetrician.

12// Avoid Caesarean-section deleveries whenever possible. They are major surgery, risky, and very expensive and not always necessary.

13// Make a living will if you'd like to limit your medical care when you're terminally ill.

* When you receive your bill, check for errors, strange things have been know to show up on a hospital bills.