You can but usually, it's only successful in a "settlement" case. For example, you have a $10,000 hospital bill and you get a large tax refund and it's like $8,000. You can talk to them usually and say look, I do not have all that money and I can keep paying the minimum payment for the rest of my life but I would rather get this resolved. I have $8,000 cash that I can give you if we can call it even. Or, I have had it where they misdiagnosed and almost killed my husband. We had to go back to another hospital and they found the problem. We contacted the original hospital and told them that they could take the insurance payment and write off the rest or we could contact a lawyer to have the matter taken care of for endangering my husband's life. They took the insurance payment only and wrote off the rest. It happens daily so yes, it's possible. You have to know how all of that works though to really negotiate.
at 10:36 AM on Mar. 10, 2009