Dollar For has officially hit $5 million in medical debt relief by advocating for patients and enforcing hospital's charity care policies. Here is what we have learned - A thread on how to crush medical bills.
Buckle up. This process is rarely a walk in the park. At the end of the day the hospitals would like to get paid. Getting them to honor a policy that will eliminate your bill will require you to jump through some hoops.
EVERY SINGLE nonprofit hospital in the US will have a financial assistance policy. They should have it on their website with an application. Sometimes they make you call and request a packet or do a pre screening with a financial advisor. This is BS but don't let it stop you.
Do not panic and pay your medical bills with a credit card. You would much rather have hospital debt than credit card debt at 20% interest.
You have 240 days from the time you receive your first bill to apply for financial assistance. This is the federal minimum. Some hospitals and States are more generous. Always ask or check the policy online.
You have 120 days from the time you receive your first bill until the hospital can send you to collections. Notice that collections comes before financial assistance expires. This is on purpose. Collections is not the end of the road but they want you to think it is.
ALWAYS include a financial hardship letter with your financial assistance application. I have seen this change the game for some people. These are humans that read your applications. Tell them about the financial burden and what it would mean to you if it was forgiven.
Household size - Don't include your boyfriend/girlfriend. Don't include your roommates. Household is Tax filer + spouse + tax dependents = household. If you live with your parents and they don’t claim you on their taxes and you pay any kind of rent you are a single household.
The hospital will usually “freeze” your account when you have a financial assistance application pending. You will continue to get bills and final notices during this time. Set them aside and wait for a determination. Give 3 weeks to process and then call once a week to check in.
The best proof of income you can provide is 3 months of most recent pay stubs and a copy of most recent tax return. If you are unemployed show proof of unemployment. If on social security send your award letter. If no income send a letter explaining. The more the merrier on this.
If the hospital responds and wants more information they will usually send a letter that makes it sound like you have been denied. This is on purpose. Don’t give up. Just send them the info they want. You are close!
A lot of for profit hospitals have financial assistance policies. The difference is that they can tell you to get lost and it’s not illegal. It will also not be required for them to post in on their website. Always ask.
When you go to a hospital you will get billed separately from each provider. Hospital, surgeon, imaging etc. If you get a financial assistance award letter from the hospital you can forward it to the other providers and they will usually honor at the same level the hospital did.
Cont. the hospital won’t tell you this and neither will the other providers. Call every single one of them and tell them you have a financial assistance application pending with the hospital. Ask them if they will honor it or if they have their own process.
If you have been on a payment plan or made any payments and are then approved for financial assistance START ASKING FOR A REFUND! The hospital should have vetted you. This doesn't work every time but I have had hospital mail checks to patients and it’s dope.
AMBULANCE RIDES
Ask for the Compassionate Care Program. They will screen you on the phone. If you qualify they will mail you the form. You have 10 biz days to return it. There are lots of these companies and it may not be universal but I have crushed a lot of bills by doing this.
NEGOTIATING
If financial assistance is not an option for you there are several things you can do to try and lower your bill. Ask for the medicaid price, ask for the cash price, ask for an itemized bill.
The hospital will almost always take 20-30% off if you can pay in full. They will absolutely negotiate if you can close the account. Same with collection agencies. I always start with 50% and see where it goes. If you don’t like the response try again another day.
Sometimes you have to be a jerk and that’s ok but most of the time I kill them with kindness.
These are all things that have worked for me. They are not universal and every hospital is different. Some states have better laws than others. Share your tips and let's use this to help people. If you think I have said something incorrect please share. We want accurate info! 🧡

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