Sunday, June 12, 2011

Settlement for Medical Debt - How to Negotiate

Medical bills can easily reach the thousands of dollars. If you do not have insurance or their coverage is limited, you may find yourself buried in debt if you have an accident or severe illness. Many people do not realize that doctors or hospitals may be able to negotiate the amount of medical debt or a repayment plan to make it more manageable for your budget. The negotiation process is not difficult if you talk to the right person and make a reasonable settlement offer.

Determine if you need to negotiate a reduction in the amount of overall debt, a payment schedule, or both. Sometimes you can pay the full amount of medical debt, but only have time to do so. Sometimes the amount is so large that it would be virtually impossible to pay in full. Know exactly what you need to do to handle the situation before opening negotiations.

Contact the doctor's office or hospital before medical debt is turned over to a collection agency. Once the debt is handed over to an outside collector, the doctor or hospital can expect to receive only a fraction of the amount billed. Instead of taking this step, the billing might be willing to compromise and receive a smaller amount than is even greater than what one would expect from a professional collector.

Make sure you are talking to someone who has the power to do the negotiations and approve a settlement. When you're talking to a hospital, you may need to speak to a supervisor instead of a billing clerk. When you are working with the office of a doctor, you may need to speak to the manager of the office or own doctor. Do not waste your time talking to someone who can not say "yes" to an agreement.

Make your offer and expresses its willingness to put in writing. Be specific about the lump sum settlement or payment plan you are offering. If you are willing to sign a contract, will show their good faith. Make sure the billing agrees to sign, too, so the doctor or hospital is also linked to the agreement.

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