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In a recent post we discussed tips for making medical debt more manageable in Ohio. One strategy was to negotiate with the health care provider to see if you could work out a payment plan. A recent news article asks the question, “Is it ever too late to negotiate?” We thought our readers struggling with overwhelming medical debt would appreciate clarification on the matter.

In most cases, the answer is no. It is typically in the best interest of the health care provider to negotiate a discount or a more manageable payment plan. Even if the debt has been turned over to a collection agency, it is not too late to try and negotiate the balance due. There are exceptions to the rule, however. Depending on how old the debt is, it may be in your best interest to speak with a bankruptcy attorney first. Just as crimes are subject to a statute of limitations, so are debts. Each state has different lengths of time during which a creditor can legally collect a debt. If that time period has expired and you try to negotiate or make a payment, the clock is renewed and you could be sued for the entire amount due.

As you can see, the laws surrounding debt collections are complex. If you find yourself struggling to pay doctor or hospital bills, you might want to speak with a bankruptcy attorney. It never hurts to have a professional on your side, who can help you find debt relief. Whether negotiating or filing for personal bankruptcy is your best option, you can stop creditor harassment and overcome your financial challenges.

Source: Foxbusiness.com, “Is It Ever Too Late to Negotiate a Medical Bill?” Gerri Detweiler, July 18, 2013