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Can you negotiate hospital bills?

Hospital bills can be some of the most expensive, and they can be overwhelming for some people. Usually, hospital visits are accompanied by injuries or deaths along with missing work, so on top of receiving a large bill, you'll also have less money in some cases.

Medical care can be downright expensive, and just a pregnancy with labor and delivery at the hospital can cost $10,000 or more. Can you negotiate these costs if you can't afford them? Yes, and your attorney can help you do so.

Is bankruptcy the only way to eliminate medical debt?

Bankruptcy is an option, but it's not the only way out of debt for someone with medical debt. Negotiating debt is possible. For instance, if you find the hospital has overcharged you for the procedure based on the fair price of the operation or procedure at other hospitals, you may be able to get them to lower your bill, too.

Go to the billing department in person and offer to pay a lower amount in cash. If you do this, the hospital is more likely to want to take cash up front rather than complicated payments over time that may or may not get paid. For a hospital, this is risk mitigation; for you, it's a way to pay less.

Can you start a payment plan with hospitals?

Some hospitals will allow payment plans, and many are without interest. However, you need to be sure about what you're signing on for. Taking a payment plan on a bill that was meant to be $100 and later finding out you paid over $250 over time won't feel great, so you may want to see if you can simply offer $75 or even less in cash instead of entering a plan.

Source: GO Banking Rates, "How to Negotiate Hospital Bills," Cameron Huddleston, Jan. 16, 2016

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