How to negotiate a medical bill in collections
Receiving a collections notice is never fun. Neither is finding out that you have medical debt when applying for a car loan or a mortgage. Luckily, there are many ways you can negotiate down a medical bill in collections. Here are some expert tips from a medical bill advocate to help you through these difficult times.
Enter Courtney, an expert Medical Bill Advocate for DisputeBills:
- When dealing with a collection agency on your own, communicate with them via written documents. This will ensure you have a solid trail if any discounts are applied to your account. This way down the road if you settle on your account and you receive a statement you have written proof that an agreement was reached.
- Offer a lump sum instead of monthly payments. Keep in mind that if you are able to pay in a lump sum you’re more than likely to get a bigger discount. A payment plan won’t save you any money since it will be the same amount you owe just broken down. If you offer a lump sum you save money and the rest has to be written off.
- When negotiating with the collection agency, start at a higher percentage to settle at and if they do not agree, work your way down by increments of 5%. Most of the time if the collection agency is willing to negotiate they will offer a 25% discount and anything higher they will have to have approved by their supervisor. Collection agencies buy the debt from facilities for pennies on the dollar so most collection balances are pure profit once the customer pays. Remember to keep everything in writing!
- Once you reach a settlement, make sure to request that your account be noted as paid in full and reported to the credit bureau also since that will make a difference. It will most likely stay on your credit as “Removed Collections” for up to 7 years. As long as they report it to the credit bureau as paid in full it should not have an effect down the road.