job. I want to let you know that we fully intend to pay this bill, you guys did a great job taking care of me (or my father, etc.) and I really appreciate it. But if you have a minute or two there are a few questions I want to ask you to make sure I understand all of this.

Naturally, the biller will agree to answer your question. I like to phrase it this way because it conveys that you are cognizant and respectful of their time. At this point, I recommend giving one sentence of context, not your whole life story. Remember that billers have to make 20-35 calls per day and they covet their time. They will be appreciative if you value their time.

To give you just a little context, I (or my father, uncle, etc.) just had a catastrophic episode of cancer and we are working with ten different providers to set-up payment plans and fnancial aid so everyone can get paid.

This lets them know your circumstances and that you are making efforts to meet all of your obligations, including theirs. At this point, you can open with logistical questions like why is there a discrepancy between their bill and your EOB, or try to fgure out why your insurance did not pay. Ask for a conference call with your insurance company. That will allow you to get discrepancies resolved immediately rather than waiting for the biller to take care of it. After you have dealt with these issues, you are ready to talk about payment plans and fnancial aid.

These following fve strategies are really the crux of this book. Depending on your situation, you may be able to use a combination of these or all simultaneously. If you are genuinely experiencing hardship, these fve strategies will help you demonstrate it in a rational manner to the provider. I do not condone lying or providing false information to try to get a break.

Payment plans

Can I make payments of $xx per month?

Payment plans are the simplest and easiest form of fnancial aid to get. Hospitals and healthcare providers will not charge you