“One arm and one leg”: how to negotiate to reduce medical bills

Don’t see the audio player? Click here to listen.

Negotiation of medical bills is often possible. It sounds hard – and it can be – but what if we made it a science? Planned all movements in advance? Jared Walker and his team at the association dollars for are conducting a great experiment to see if they can do just that.

The folks at Dollar For went superviral on TikTok in early 2021 with a 60 second recipe for crushing medical debt by accessing charitable care, financial assistance that most US hospitals are legally required to offer.

Then a bunch of whip-smart volunteers helped Dollar For develop a user-friendly system to help people apply for this help. Dollar For has also started giving classes on Zoom, teaching people the ins and outs of applying for charitable care – and helping others do so. The group says its work has helped erase more than $18 million in medical debt.

But many people who can’t afford to pay their medical bills don’t qualify for charity care. So Dollar For is trying something new: what they call a “negotiation lab” to find the best way to negotiate with hospitals and debt collectors.

In this episode, we listen to one of Dollar For’s actual negotiations with a debt collector.

“One Arm and One Leg” is a co-production of KHN and Public Road Productions.

To keep in touch with “One arm and one leg”, Sign up to the newsletter. You can also follow the show on Facebook and Twitter. And if you have stories to tell about the health system, producers I would like to hear from you.

To listen to all KHN podcasts, click here.

And subscribe to “An arm and a leg” on Spotify, Apple podcast, embroiderer, Pocket castsor wherever you listen to podcasts.

Related Topics

Contact us Submit a tip

Comments are closed.