Rx For Medical Debt You go to the doctor to be healthy, but for millions, a visit comes with a bad side effect: huge bills that can lead to serious debt. One in 5 Americans struggles with medical bills. But there are often things you can do to get those bills reduced or even forgiven.
Here's what to remember:
- Ask for help as soon as possible. You may qualify for the hospital's financial assistance policy.
- Don't pay the sticker price! Research fair prices through Healthcare Bluebook.
- Be persistent.
- Don't put medical debt on a credit card.
- Remember that medical debt is not as urgent as your other bills — pay mortgage and credit cards first.
- Take steps to make debt collectors stop calling.
- A non-profit advocate can help.
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Rx For Medical Debt

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Rx For Medical Debt

Rx For Medical Debt

Rx For Medical Debt

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Shannon Wright/for NPR
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Shannon Wright/for NPR

You go to the doctor to be healthy, but for millions, a visit comes with a bad side effect: huge bills that can lead to serious debt. One in 5 Americans struggles with medical bills. But there are often things you can do to get those bills reduced or even forgiven.

Here's what to remember:

  • Ask for help as soon as possible. Find out if you qualify for the hospital's financial assistance policy.
  • Don't pay the sticker price! Research fair prices through Healthcare Bluebook.
  • Be persistent.
  • Don't put medical debt on a credit card — you lose protections that come with medical debt.
  • Remember that medical debt is not as urgent as your other bills — pay mortgage and credit cards first.
  • Take steps to make debt collectors stop calling. Instructions for do-not-contact letters can be found in the National Consumer Law Center's book Surviving Debt.
  • A non-profit advocate can help. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling can help you find good counselors.