September 26, 2022
Dan Weissmann Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen. Negotiating medical bills is often

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

Negotiating medical bills is often possible. It sounds hard — and it can be — but what if we got it down to a science? Mapped out all the moves ahead of time? Jared Walker and his team at the nonprofit Dollar For are running a big experiment to see whether 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 charity care, financial assistance that most U.S. hospitals are legally required to offer.

Next, a group of whip-smart volunteers helped Dollar For develop a user-friendly system to help people apply for that assistance. Dollar For also started holding lessons on Zoom, teaching people the ins and outs of applying for charity care — and helping others to do so. The group says its work has helped erase more than $18 million in medical debt. 

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

In this episode, we listen in on one of Dollar For’s real-life negotiations with a debt collector. 

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

To keep in touch with “An Arm and a Leg,” subscribe to the newsletter. You can also follow the show on Facebook and Twitter. And if you’ve got stories to tell about the health care system, the producers would love to hear from you.

See also  Upended: How Medical Debt Changed Their Lives

To hear all KHN podcasts, click here.

And subscribe to “An Arm and a Leg” on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a national newsroom that produces in-depth journalism about health issues. Together with Policy Analysis and Polling, KHN is one of the three major operating programs at KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation). KFF is an endowed nonprofit organization providing information on health issues to the nation.

USE OUR CONTENT

This story can be republished for free (details).

We encourage organizations to republish our content, free of charge. Here’s what we ask:

You must credit us as the original publisher, with a hyperlink to our khn.org site. If possible, please include the original author(s) and “Kaiser Health News” in the byline. Please preserve the hyperlinks in the story.

It’s important to note, not everything on khn.org is available for republishing. If a story is labeled “All Rights Reserved,” we cannot grant permission to republish that item.

Have questions? Let us know at [email protected]