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Has anyone used a "patient advocate" to help with medical bills?

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    Has anyone used a "patient advocate" to help with medical bills?

    My bankruptcy filing is completed now and I was discharged last summer. Almost immediately after I got slammed with thousands in medical debt. I am making payments to some of the collection agency's but have more piling on and I am out of money. I came across some articles on using a patient advocate to help work out a low settlement. However I can't really find any in my area, although I am not sure if there are places that can do it remotely or not. My main question is has anyone used one? And if so did it end up working out for you?

    Thank you!

    #2
    I don't know what a "patient advocate" is, but assuming this is a nonprofit organization which provides its services free of charge, it couldn't hurt to try. If this is a for-profit business, which claims to negotiate on your behalf for a fee, don't fall for it. There is nothing they can do which you could not do yourself for free.

    That being said, most hospitals and healthcare organizations offer "charity care" or other similar programs which will reduce or even eliminate your debt as long as you meet the income requirements. If you are truly struggling to pay your bills, and are "out of money" then it may be time to stop paying and save your money I would attempt to negotiate with the original creditor (hospital or medical practice) not the collection agency. Medical debt is usually assigned, rather than sold, which means that the collection agency does not have the authority to make any meaningful reduction to the amount owed, or the monthly payments requested.

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      #3
      I would call the hospital and see if there are any options. Sometimes the collection agency is actually a department in the hospital. I have worked in a few hospitals and know that (at least in the past) would make arrangements with people for payment or use a sliding scale based on income.

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