Real Money: Cut Back Big Bucks on Medical Bills

ABC News' Paula Faris finds better ways to save cash on medical care.
2:37 | 03/28/13

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Transcript for Real Money: Cut Back Big Bucks on Medical Bills
your pocket right now. And tonight on medical bills. We asked abc's paula faris, to see what she could do. Reporter: Joyce ann huston has been a musician her entire life. Even has her own wall of fame, -- just last night she was on stage. But today she's paying for it. Like millions of americans, joyce has a chronic medical condition. Hers is lupus. She preps her body for days before performing. Her music is her only escape, and it's how she pays the bills. She still owes $25,000 from her original diagnosis, and new bills from her ongoing care are mounting. Financially, where are you right now? In the hole. I could end up losing my house. Reporter: What joyce and millions of others didn't realize is that over half of the nation's hospitals -- the nonprofits -- have money that they're required to give back to the community ofteugthroh what's called patient assistance programs. Health care advocate michelle katz says it's hidden money that too many people don't kn Reporter: I don't think most people know. But they're required because they're receiving so many tax exemptions. Reporter: Right. Michelle says anyone with huge bills may qualify, even if you have insurance. But you have to ask for it. Non-profit hospitals are required to publicize their policies on assistance programs. But, one study of 100 hospitals showed nearly half didn't mention it on their website. And, almost 70% didn't tell you how to qualify when you called. With the help of the colors of lupus foundation in nevada, went after some of that money for joyce. It took weeks of phone calls to her hospital to cut through the red tape. You should understand, if they announce it openly, everyone would be flooding, right? It's just a matter of negotiation. Just knowing it's out there and not being afraid to ask for it. Reporter: The result? Her $25,000 hospital bill, now, just $7,000. I'm just shocked you all were able to do that. Reporter: Looks like your house is safe. You were worried about that. I didn't know how I was going to make it through. Can I hug you? Reporter: And today, after saving 18,000 on her medical bill, joyce is singing a much different tune. ♪ hallelujah ♪ so nice to hear. The hospital's first offer was not their final offer. She did benefit fromaving an advocate. But it's important to note you can do this on your own. There's a check list on our website and our expert is on twitter right now, armed and ready to take your questions.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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