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10 Ways to Negotiate a Medical Bill


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Hire a Health Care Advocate
Hiring a health care advocate might be worth it if your debt is excessive.
Hiring a health care advocate might be worth it if your debt is excessive.
©iStockphoto.com/anne de Haas

When it comes to medical bills, hospitals, doctors and insurance companies have a team of people working for them. Who's on your side? The health care advocate, that's who. Health care advocates know the ins and outs of the industry. They also know the law. They will scrutinize your medical bills and look at your coverage with the sole purpose of finding mistakes and other savings. Many times, patients don't know they are entitled to certain benefits. Advocates will also tell you what the best courses of action are, such as deciding to resolve a dispute using an appeals process. They'll battle on your behalf. Some advocates charge about $50 to $175 an hour to help you. Others earn a commission of 15 to 35 percent on the amount they save you on your bill, and only get paid if they are successful [source: Consumer Reports].

Some state governments have people whose sole job is to help you deal with your medical bills and the insurance companies. In Connecticut, for example, the Office of The Health Care Advocate provides services at no charge to people who have been denied coverage or a claim by their insurer [source: Connecticut Office of the Health Care Advocate].