Help with Medical Debt in Collections


Has anyone had success disputing their medical debt with collection agencies? Did you use the Dispute Any Debt tool or something else? Even if you were only able to reduce the debt, but not cancel it all, please let me know what tools or tactics you used! I have a friend outside the Debt Collective in need of help, so I thought I’d ask around here.


Hi! Have you tried contacting this group? About - Dollar For

Most of the options I’m aware of are for medical debts which originated in hospitals. Is that the case here?

Hi @java.noor, yes we have helped people dispute medical debts.

There are a few different ways to do it. If the medical bill is recent, and is still held by the hospital (or doctors office, lab, etc. Whatever the medical entity that the bill is for) there is so called “charity care” requirements that most hospitals are subject to. They don’t do a good job of informing people that this option exists, but there should be some fine print on the bill itself that explains the process for applying for charity care. There is some paperwork involved, but many people qualify, even if you have a good job with decent pay you might qualify, so it is worth exploring. It is possible to get the medical bill reduced or eliminated through “charity care.”

If your friend is getting hassled by debt collectors, then using the Dispute Any Debt in Collections tool is an option:

We can’t guarantee it will result in the debt being successfully discharged, but it isn’t going to hurt and we encourage everyone to file a dispute and put the collectors through their paces.

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Yes, thanks! I’m familiar with this group and hoping they might be able to help.

It did originate as a hospital bill, which my friend already talked down before the remaining amount went to collections.


Hey y’all,

@java.noor and @Thomas_Gokey Want to follow up with another question about medical debt. A friend of mine recently told me he was served papers by the sheriff in Denver for a $500 medical debt he could not pay. The original debt was with UCHealth, a hospital in the area. He was scared that if he did not pay it something worse would happen so he ended up paying this along with over $400 of legal fees! Is this legal? I mean he already paid it, but he has so much more medical debt. I’m sending him the Dollar For info to see if he qualifies for Charity Care, but I just feel like WTF, he was served papers for $500??? Thanks!

Hi @Allison.Blakeney, I’m not a lawyer and I can’t give anyone legal or financial advice. All I can do is share info.

Since your friend has already paid this particular bill, I think it is going to be difficult to get that back. But when it comes to the other bills he has yes you should first check to see if he qualifies for charity care. It is possible that he is outside the window of time to apply, but you can still ask and advocate.

If you get served with papers rather than be intimated into paying you could show up to court and dispute the debt there. Many people who do that get the debts discharged, or are found to be “judgement proof” (basically they have so little money, the courts won’t allow the creditor to pursue the debt), or at least have the debt reduced. You also have enormous power to negotiate a settlement, so even if your friend just wants it to be done and over with you can negotiate a much better settlement. Rather than pay $500 plus an additional $400 more for legal fees offer to settle the whole thing for $50. It would cost them more to fight you, so it is in their best interest to settle, even if you have to meet somewhere in the middle.

As always your options depend on the specific circumstances. It is always useful to seek legal advice. You can start with your local legal aid society. But you don’t need a lawyer to show up to court and dispute the debt judgement or to negotiate. If you can get legal help take it. If you can’t don’t let that stop you from advocating for yourself.

Thank you for all of this information, it is super helpful! I will send this over to him.

Just to share my story which is in process. Back in the end of Sept I went to the ER and have about $1,000 with one bill and another $200 with another bill. I just was on the phone for the one bill today. I continued to tell this one costumer service rep today that I couldn’t pay this and asked if there was anyway this could be negotiated down as I know there are hospitals that do. They continued to throw back some line like, “There are some entities that do but (Hospital Network) is not one of them.” As well asked to talk to a supervisor which they continued to say… They could not escalate the situation further to a supervisor because they would provide the same answer. They finally provided me information about financial assistance aka charity care like what Thomas mentioned. Just thought to provide a real example. And yes I just checked now and there is small print about charity care on the bill. Not at all well advertised. Also, there is this reddit post of someone who formerly worked in medical billing that I am linking below which I found helpful. Linked HERE

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