Hospitals often will work on settlement for past-due bills if payer makes effort

Apr 2, 2016, 11:00 AM
(AP Photo)...
(AP Photo)
(AP Photo)

Dear Dave,

Will hospitals take a settlement on past-due medical bills, or is this a rare occurrence?

— Kristin

Dear Kristin,

It’s not all that rare for hospitals to accept a settlement on past-due bills.

Most businesses will accept a settlement on past due accounts, and many hospitals will accept a deeply discounted settlement because they’ve usually gotten a big chunk of their money up front from the insurance company.

Let’s say you had a $1,000 hospital bill you honestly haven’t been able to pay for several months, or even two or three years.

If you go to them and offer $300 or $400 as a settlement, there’s a good chance you’ll have a deal. Just make sure you get the agreement in writing before you hand anyone a check.

Remember, you have a moral and legal obligation to pay your debts in full if at all possible.

But if you truly can’t afford to pay, an agreed upon settlement between two parties can be an honorable and acceptable compromise.

— Dave

Dave Ramsey

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Hospitals often will work on settlement for past-due bills if payer makes effort