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Can you negotiate medical bills?

Medical debt is one type of debt that can instantly be overwhelming. Whether it's a single blood test or a major surgery, the costs have a potential to be high. When surgeries can cost thousands of dollars and blood tests range in the hundreds, it's no wonder that a single visit to a hospital emergency room puts so many people in debt.

The good thing about medical debt is that there are many ways to handle it. By focusing on the bills you receive and working out a plan of attack, you can reduce what you owe and prevent medical debt from taking over your finances.

To start with, remember that all medical bills have to be reviewed. Make sure all the charges are for things you actually received. It's not unusual to see a double charge, so you must verify that you weren't charged twice for the same things. If you do find a discrepancy, reach out to the provider to have the bill updated.

Another thing you need to do is to make sure you make a payment, even if it's small. Most medical establishments won't send your accounts to collections as long as they're receiving payments. Call to verify that you can set up a payment plan. If you can't, at least make a small payment until you can decide on another way to handle the debt.

Medical bills are usually negotiable, which is one good reason to work with your attorney if you find yourself struggling. Attorneys work with hospitals and doctors' offices regularly and may know the best ways to help you negotiate down your bill to something you can afford.

Source: Debt.org, "Medical Debt and Collections," Bill Fay, accessed March 09, 2018

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