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Old 06-24-2008, 10:07 AM
 
Location: Wichita,Kansas
2,731 posts, read 6,176,922 times
Reputation: 1347

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Does anyone have any experience with Medical debt?
Im paying about 600.00 in payments to 4-5 different bills.
Has anyone got them to reduce the Amount you owe?
I have seen Lawyers?or an Agency who claims they can work with them
To reduce the Amount.Really dont want to file Bankruptcy but getting..
Way behind.Im sure once you stop paying on a agreed payment they..
Come after you very quickly.
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Old 06-24-2008, 10:12 AM
 
19,084 posts, read 20,652,259 times
Reputation: 8353
If I were you, I would contact the hospital/doctors and ask to pay back a lower amount. Every prices is negotiable, including medical bills. Call them first before calling any businesses as it costs money to hire them to lower your bills.
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Old 06-24-2008, 10:14 AM
 
3,698 posts, read 10,388,153 times
Reputation: 2611
Most hospitals and doctors are pretty good about working with you on your medical bills, but you have to talk to them to see what you can work out.
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Old 06-24-2008, 07:15 PM
 
2,564 posts, read 4,055,329 times
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I have tons of experience.

Best and really only feasible thing to do is contact each person you owe and negotiate something to mroe your range, but it is very important to keep payment on time.

I have had greater esults with mine except for one person. When I threatened to file bankruptcy, they changed their minds quickly as they knew they would not get any money then.

What ever you do, never take out a loan or use your credit card to pay a medical debt.

I went to each place personally and explained my situation and explained what my future intentions are, they were (or seemed) a lot mroe accepting talking face to face than over the phone.
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Old 06-25-2008, 07:13 AM
 
Location: Wichita,Kansas
2,731 posts, read 6,176,922 times
Reputation: 1347
Thanks k350 I might try going to each place in person.
Seems like some places have a set minimum they will accept.
Filing for Bankruptcy is something i would rather not do.
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Old 06-26-2008, 07:54 AM
Status: "chickpea soup" (set 29 days ago)
 
18,766 posts, read 56,528,724 times
Reputation: 33182
Quote:
Originally Posted by averagejoe76 View Post
Does anyone have any experience with Medical debt?
Im paying about 600.00 in payments to 4-5 different bills.
Has anyone got them to reduce the Amount you owe?
I have seen Lawyers?or an Agency who claims they can work with them
To reduce the Amount.Really dont want to file Bankruptcy but getting..
Way behind.Im sure once you stop paying on a agreed payment they..
Come after you very quickly.
At this point, you may have a difficult time. You have already established a track record of being able to make payments, and you'll probably have to justify why you can no longer make them - job insecurity, need to move, increasing expenses, etc..

The time to negotiate is when the first bills start arriving. I had great success with the strategy of "I can't pay that, I already have these fixed expenses and this income. There is a possibility I might have to resort to bankruptcy if a lower bill cannot be negotiated. What I plan to do is pay the providers who give the greatest discount first, even if it means borrowing money to do that. As for any provider who won't negotiate, I'll pay as I can at about $25/mo." That immediately gets attention, especially if you can go in with your last year's income tax form and show a low income, and verify expenses. The hospital can likely pull up your credit bureau information, so don't try to pull really fast ones.

The $25 figure is enough to keep you off the deadbeat list, especially if paid regularly, but with inflation and a long payment time, it is a lot less attractive than an up-front pay with no further hassles. In any negotiation, you must INSIST on a written bill that shows "PAID IN FULL" at the time of pay-off. You don't want a collection company coming after you because of turnover in the office staff and a dumping of old accounts to a collection agency.

I need to interject something here about using credit cards to pay medical bills. In general, the best idea is "DON'T!" However, if you can leverage the total bill down to 50% or less of what it would otherwise be, and are reasonably confident of being able to pay off the credit card debt at a low interest rate, then that advice is wrong. The key points are to:
1. Get the debt reduced.
2. Get "PAID IN FULL" statements from at least a few providers.
3. Pay as little as possible in ongoing interest.
4. Keep your credit score intact.

One magic negotiating tactic is to offer immediate payment if the billed amount is reduced IN WRITING to the amount that would be paid by social security. That provides an easily defendable figure to the negotiator, and is usually far less than retail pricing.

The infuriating part of all this is that the high prices charged are a direct result of insurance companies and medicare negotiating rock bottom plan paments, resulting in health care providers inflating the prices to those without insurance, to make up for lost revenue. Insurance has become a protection racket, with the laws protecting it. You have to be savvy and ruthless to survive the system.

FWIW, I learned a bit while negotiating. One provider commented "If you want to pay nothing, the next time you are sick, go to a busy hospital and sign in as Garcia Vega. There are so many patients by this name with unpaid bills that they get lost in the shuffle." Another commented that by coming to them rather than their having to come to me, that I would get the lowest possible prices. Trust me, I did. I was astounded that I ended up paying about 10% of the initial amount of their bill. Overall, I negotiated a hospital stay down to 28% of the initial bill, and saved my bruised financial rump.

Be prepared to provide an exact figure that you are willing to pay immediately, and watch out for ploys like "can you pay this amount over time?" or the initial, "we'll give you 30% off the bill" before you even present your case.

Good luck.
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Old 06-26-2008, 05:39 PM
 
428 posts, read 1,529,631 times
Reputation: 283
I am a doctor, and I can tell you, my office would work out a reasonable payment plan with you, even if it's $10 per month. If you keep up regularly, no worries. I think most others might do the same.

A few years ago my husband had minor surgery at a local hospital. The bill was of course very high, and I asked for an itemized bill. I got one, but some things such as "surgical tray" or "pack" were apparently duplicated or not broken down as to what they were.

I asked the billing person at the hospital to please get me an itemized list of what these things were, and they could not do it. I refused to pay $800 of the bill until I was satisfied that these items were actually used in the surgery. Long story short, it stayed for several months in this "disputed" limbo, and finally they never did prove to me that these "packs" were used, and I did not pay. The hospital stopped billing us, and it was never reported as a problem on our credit reports.

I don't suggest you let anything slide, but you can often successfully dispute charges on a hospital bill. You just gotta be persistent.

Good luck.
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Old 06-27-2008, 06:01 AM
 
Location: NE Florida
17,835 posts, read 30,396,677 times
Reputation: 43292
Two things to keep in mind and also ask when doing settlements
1. Will this be reported as "settled" on my credit report?
sometimes you can negotiate it being reported as paid in full

2. If the amount written off is over $599 will they be reporting this to the IRS and sending you a 1099?
This is common practice in the Credit Card industry for settlements. If they do this the "written off" amount will be considered income that you may end up having to pay taxes on.
I have seen cases where the "written off" amount was large enough to put the folks into a higher tax bracket causing them to end up paying more taxes for the year

As other have stated get everything in writing from them !!!
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