How to Negotiate Medical Bills in Collections? – Overview
Do you want to know how to negotiate medical bills so you can settle for less? You can choose the below-given strategies.
These strategies can compel lenders to grant partial medical bill forgiveness.
First off, you can lower the total owed amount by using advantageous tactics.
For example, knowing your legal right so you can challenge prices and seek loan forgiveness is a great strategy. Secondly, agreeing to pay a lower lump sum amount is also highly recommended.
The trick is to offer enough money to compel the lender to agree to a debt settlement. This requires demonstrating financial hardship and drafting effective legal agreements.
Alternatively, you can agree to a monthly payment plan too.
Let’s see the steps you can take if your unpaid bills are sent to a collection agency for the recovery of the loan.
How to Negotiate Medical Bills in Collections
As a consumer, you should investigate every type of tactic that can help negotiate a lower medical bill amount. This is especially true if your unpaid medical bills have been transferred to a debt collection agency.
You should take every opportunity to lower the total owed amount before agreeing to a legal settlement. This is important as unpaid medical bills can eventually affect your credit score.
Here are some tips to negotiate medical bills in collections:
1 – Seek loan forgiveness
Looking to get forgiveness for unpaid medical bills is a valid legal negotiating strategy. This is great for those who belong to low-income households and for people without health insurance.
There are several hospital charity care initiatives presently. These are designed to help the underinsured, uninsured and those ineligible for government programs such as Medicaid.
Individuals who fulfill asset and income requirements can receive financial aid to cover the cost of essential medical services.
This initiative is helpful to pay bills for outpatient and acute care patient facilities.
2 – Challenge pricing
Challenging the prices of healthcare services is a relatively new medical bill negotiating strategy.
You can easily compare every invoice to a standard pricing schedule that is available publicly. This is an effective way to find errors in medical invoices.
The Hospital Price Transparency Rules became effective in the US on January 1st, 2021. Under this rule, every healthcare provider in the United States is required to provide clear and detailed cost information online.
This information is to be provided as a comprehensive machine-readable file and includes all services and items. The invoice should also display services offered in a consumer-friendly form.
3 – Know your legal rights
It is incredibly important to learn your legal rights before negotiating medical bills in collections. There are several consumer-friendly laws that can benefit you incredibly well.
Some of the important legal rights you need to know before negotiating medical bills in collections include:
Balance Billing – The interim final rule on surprise hospital bills will be effective from January 1st, 2022.
Under this, the patient may not be responsible for certain charges from healthcare providers. This is for healthcare providers participating in particular insurance plans.
Statute of Limitations – The SOL (Statute of Limitations) on medical debt is also an excellent point for negotiating a lower medical bill amount.
It provides an effective legal defense against a collection agency that has lodged a lawsuit for unpaid medical bills. This strategy works when the state-specified period has expired.
You will need to be careful when discussing with the collection agency. Always try to avoid acknowledging the debt in writing or make a payment to the collection agency for this strategy to work.
Credit Reports – Knowing the rules regulating medical bills on credit reports helps in negotiating with collection agencies. Any adverse history automatically disappears after 7 years from the date of first delinquency.
Dispute Letter – You can also send a medical bill dispute letter within 30 days of first contact with debt collectors. This also provides bargaining leverage when negotiating medical bills.
The FDCA (Fair Debt Collections Act) dictates that collectors should mail a copy of the judgment or verification of the debt.
The collectors are also responsible to mail the name and address of the original lender. Failure to comply may make the collection agency liable for statutory damages.
4 – Payment plans
Developing a payment plan is also an efficient way to pay off medical debt, especially with collection agencies.
However, you should agree with payment plans only after checking that bill amounts are valid and you have used all other legal and insurance appeals.
Individuals with good credit scores can choose two different ways to create payment plans:
1. Offer instant partial payment for a discount. You can choose to borrow this lump sum amount of medical credit cards, personal loans, etc.
2. Create a monthly payment plan which makes it budget-friendly to pay off owed medical debts.
Settling Medical Debt Collections
You can also choose to agree to pay off a fraction of the total unpaid amount if you fulfill certain criteria, such as:
Experiencing financial hardship with a negatively marked credit report
Actively employed with a regular income that is sufficient to cover only daily living expenses
Here are three steps to settle medical bills in collections:
Consolidate all bills – The first step is to merge selected unpaid bill payments into an escrow account.
You will have to offer something valuable as immediate partial payment. This entices the lender to forgive a significant portion of the total unpaid amount. You can choose to hire a debt settlement company to manage this process.
Demonstrate financial hardship – The second step is to demonstrate financial hardship. The lender should realize that your bankruptcy will prevent them from collecting any portion of the unpaid medical bills.
Offer a settlement – The third step is to offer to pay around one-third of the total unpaid amount. This can be done using the funds collected in the escrow account.
Lenders are more likely to accept this partial payment offer if they can demonstrate financial hardship effectively. You can also hire a debt settlement company to ease the negotiation process with the collection agency.
There are several different ways to negotiate medical bills in collections.
Follow the advice given above and make sure to know all your legal rights concerning the settlement of unpaid medical bills.
Don’t let medical and healthcare services seem like a burden and live a long, healthy life.