Can't afford to pay your medical bills? Here's how to lower the cost

On average, the cost of a hospital stay is $5,000 a day, and sometimes even with insurance, medical bills can spiral out of control. But, there are ways you can lower the costs.

For a reduction or elimination of a medical bill, simply give the health care provider a call and it works nearly every time, according to a survey by LendingTree.

If you're unable to pay or have difficulty making the payments over time, try negotiating.

LendingTree asked 1,500 people about medical bills and found that 93% of those surveyed were successful in reducing or eliminating medical debt.

"First thing is you want to call the billing office directly. That number should be on the medical bill, and the person on the other side of the phone is going to be the one who can actually help you negotiate down that medical bill or get you on a payment plan," said Erika Giovanetti with LendingTree.

Before you call, look at an itemized copy of your bill from the hospital, an explanation of benefits from your insurance company and a summary of benefits and coverage.

Look over the documents and then set aside at least an hour for the phone call.

Once you get someone on the phone, be cordial and let them know you cannot afford to pay or need help reducing the cost.

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