If you have overdue medical bills, you have a few options to pay off your debt. You can negotiate your bills, make payments, obtain financial aid or file for bankruptcy.
You could negotiate your medical bill. You can typically lower your bill between 30-50 percent. This option works well if you do not have insurance. The only downside is the hospital will expect payment within ten days, in the full amount. They will certainly not accept payments in this case.
You can make payments on the bill; you would call the hospital, either the billing department or financial aid department. Tell them you are unable to pay your bill in full and ask to make payments. As long as you pay something, they will not send to collections. They will also not charge you interest. This is a great way to keep the bill up to date, but, unfortunately, you will not lower the principal on the bill. If you owe a lot, this may not be the best option as the payoff may take years.
You can apply for Financial Aid at most hospitals. If it is a public hospital you will have even more luck. Be prepared, they will ask for pay stubs, tax returns and possibly more financial information. Every hospital is different, but you would usually have to have a pretty low or no income to qualify. You may have your bill reduced significantly or written off all together.
You can file for bankruptcy for medical bills. It would be no different from any other way of filing. This should be a last resort as it can be difficult to obtain credit in the future. Though if you file for bankruptcy because of medical bills, you may be able to qualify for credit earlier than someone who was irresponsible with credit cards. This should be a last resort if you owe tens of thousands of dollars with no chance of paying your debt back.