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If you are one of the millions of people who are struggling to pay medical bills, you should be aware of the steps you can take to reduce or manage your debt. If you owe money to a hospital or medical provider, do not ignore your bills. It will be harder to straighten out billing mistakes or get financial assistance if you wait. Making timely payments will also help you avoid further debt, damage to your credit score, lawsuits, and "garnishment" (deductions from your wages or bank account). But, if you cannot pay anything right now, you may be able to get financial assistance, and you should see if your provider will agree to wait before charging interest or sending your debt to a collection agency.
This guide describes some steps you can take to reduce your payments. It will also help you learn about your rights.
This manual was developed by Families USA, the Voice for Health Care Consumers, www.familiesusa.org. Since 1982, Families USA has worked to promote high-quality,
affordable health care for all Americans.
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