Woman slashes $10,000 in medical bills by almost 30%. How you can, too

When she came down with the stomach flu, MaryJaneSullivan, 52, was frightened -- not because she worried that the flu would do her in but rather she didn't think she could afford the trip to the doctor's office. Unfortunately, Sullivan ended up in the ER instead, as a result of dehydration.

"I got a bill for more than $10,000 for 18 hours in the emergency room," she says. Without insurance, Sullivan panicked. A friend suggested she try to "talk down" her bill. "She told me I might be able to talk to the billing department and get a discount," Sullivan says.