93% of Americans who negotiate medical bills get them reduced or eliminated, study finds

Most Americans who negotiate their medical bills are successful in getting them dropped or reduced, according to a study released March 15 by online loan company LendingTree.

LendingTree conducted an online survey of 1,550 Americans ages 18 to 75 from Feb. 19- 22. Below are four of its notable findings about Americans' medical debt:

  1. Sixty percent of Americans have been in debt due to medical bills, and 37 percent currently owe medical debt.

  2. Seventeen percent of respondents with medical debt owe less than $1,000, 31 percent owe between $1,000 and $4,999, 22 percent owe between $5,000 and $9,999, 18 percent owe between $10,000 and $19,999 and 13 percent owe $20,000 or more.

  3. Thirty-three percent of respondents who have paid off the medical debt did so using their savings. Twenty-three percent used credit cards, 13 percent picked up another job, 10 percent took out a medical loan, 9 percent borrowed from a friend or family member and 8 percent declared bankruptcy.

  4. Three-fourths of respondents who have had medical debt negotiated their bills, though older respondents were less likely to do so. Ninety-three percent of those who negotiated had their bills reduced or dropped.

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