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Ask Dave

Medical Bill Trouble

Jonathan needs Dave's help in talking to his elderly parents, who are overwhelmed by their medical debt.

QUESTION: Jonathan's parents have health problems that have led to several hundred thousand dollars in medical debt. Because of that, they are having problems getting motivated to do Dave's plan. What can he say to them?

ANSWER: No one is motivated when they are in those kinds of situations. The opposite of motivated is being paralyzed. When you are overwhelmed and there is no hope, you don't want to exert a bunch of effort to go nowhere. People who don't believe they are going to win, often don't do anything. They don't think they can pull this off at all.

The only thing I can think of that would make those numbers less overwhelming is to begin to settle some of those big debts. Go with your dad and sit down with the hospital administrator. Tell the administrator that you have an older working man here, and the odds of them getting $200,000 out of him are about zero.

Tell them how grateful you are that they saved his life and the work they did, but now you're begging for some mercy. If you do that in person, you'll be amazed. If you can get to the medical people on the administrative side, they are fairly merciful and realistic people.