How to Negotiate Medical Debt

You hope to never find yourself drowning in medical debt, but you never know what your health will bring in the future. 

If this happens, don’t let the stress bog you down. Instead, learn more about your options for negotiating the debt, which could lead you to eliminate it sooner than you ever thought possible. 

Here are some tips to guide you:

1. Don’t Delay

Once you know that you can’t pay your medical bill in full, contact the billing department to provide more information and learn more about your options.

It’s much more difficult to negotiate a bill after it’s delinquent. 

2. Keep an Open Mind

You’ll probably go into the negotiation with an idea of what you want to accomplish. While it’s a good idea to prepare in advance, you should also keep an open mind. Remember, any concession on behalf of your medical provider is better than none at all.

So, if they make you an offer, consider it in full before deciding what to do next. You may be best off taking the offer on the spot and moving on.

3. Use Cash to Your Advantage

One of the best strategies for negotiating medical debt is to offer to pay cash on the spot. This is much more likely to get you the response you want, as opposed to telling the provider you’ll pay with a credit card.

4. Remain Polite

If you’re not getting what you want, it’s easy to become upset and angry. But if you go down this path, you’re only going to put the person off.

Remain polite, regardless of what you are hearing, and continue to do your part in moving negotiations in the right direction. 

5. Try Again

If you run into a dead end, don’t give up just yet. Thank the person for their time, hang up, and reassess your situation.

For example, you can call back the next day and ask for a billing supervisor. This person may have more authority to accept a lesser payment, but you’ll never know until you get them on the phone.

Final tip: let the provider know that you simply don’t have the money to pay in full, so you won’t be doing so. This may be just what you need to push them over the edge. And even if it’s not, it positions you to finalize a payment agreement that allows you to pay down the balance over an extended period of time.

Final Thoughts

If you’re unable to pay for your medical debt, contact the provider to discuss your options. You may not be the type who enjoys negotiating, but once you dive into the conversation everything will come together.

The last thing you want to do is make a rash decision with how you pay the debt, as it could result in more harm than good. 

Do you have any experience negotiating medical debt? What strategy worked best for you?